In yet ANOTHER summer romp from the Judd Apatow factory line Dale Denton (Seth Rogen) is a beefy rotund guy who delivers subpoenas for a living. He also dates a young jail-bait cutie Angie (Amber Heard) when he’s not visiting his sweet stoner of a pot dealer Saul Silver (James Franco) to score the latest and greatest weed. In this case that’s the title star Pineapple Express a marijuana combination so lethal and unique Dale is almost (we said ALMOST) reluctant to destroy it by inhaling. But when he sets out to deliver a subpoena to drug kingpin Ted Jones (Gary Cole) he is spotted by the man as he commits a bloody murder. Freaking out Dale ditches the scene so fast he dumps some of the precious weed leaving it behind like a trail of breadcrumbs dropped by Hansel leading a trail to Saul. Reefer madness ensues as a full-blown freak out is set in motion and Dale and Saul hit the pedal to the metal in order to evade Ted and his loony goons (Kevin Corrigan and Craig Robinson). This leads to so many crazy-weird encounters and near-death experiences it makes a Road Runner cartoon look like the work of Ingmar Bergman by comparison. Smashed heads sliced and diced ears banged up bodies galore--you want it Pineapple Express has got it. As the film’s ad line implores ‘put that in your pipe and smoke it!’ Rogen and Franco are the yin and yang of comedy here with wildly divergent styles that complement each other perfectly. Rogen plays Dale with such over-the-top hysteria and a high pitched sense of desperation he’s fun to watch--until you just want him to calm down and take a breath. Franco steals the film lock stock and barrel with his stoned-out weed maestro who clearly has ingested so much of the stuff himself that he qualifies for a place in the slacker hall of fame. With his parade of non-sequiturs and nonsensical ramblings Franco turns gentle Saul into one of the year’s most endearing and hilarious creations. Although the movie belongs to these two special mention should also go to Danny McBride who takes it on the chin (and everywhere else) as Red Saul’s unfaithful drug buddy and supplier. Cole is all evil menace while Rosie Perez shows up as his cop-tease accomplice. David Gordon Green a director previously known only for small downer indie films like All The Real Girls and Snow Angels seems to be getting off on all the toys producer Apatow has given him to play with. Adeptly handling the car crashes extreme violence and general anarchy on screen Green keeps the action moving and the laughs coming. The film is handsomely shot and production values are strong even though what’s on screen basically comes down to a how-can-you-top-this destruction derby. Working off a script from Superbad writers Rogen and his partner Evan Goldberg Green manages to evoke the spirit of a mismatched buddy movie along the lines of a Midnight Run but ratchets up speed tempo and noise levels to the needs of the average attention span for this type of flick. Take that Harold and Kumar! Although not as supergood as Superbad it’s all a lot of fun if you like your frivolity generously mixed with carnage. Huey Lewis also contributes a catchy title song that perfectly captures the whacked-out stoner spirit of the whole enterprise.
John (Will Arnett) and Dean Solomon (Will Forte) are as much related by blood as they are by their stupidity but apparently there’s room for them to grow even dumber. When their father (Lee Majors) slips into a sudden coma the brothers rush over—after stopping to rent a video—to be by his side. Once at the hospital they learn that their dad had but one unfulfilled wish: to become a grandfather. So begins the search for a female to impregnate in order to the brothers believe keep their father alive. It doesn’t take long after posting an ad on Craigslist for the bros to find their mate—or at least a woman named Janine (Kristen Wiig) who agrees to become artificially inseminated and bear their child for $12 000. As Janine’s trimesters pass by John and Dean prepare to become fathers by baby-proofing their apartment with strategically placed combination locks and by running practice drills for potential disasters—like what to do when the newborn jumps off the stairwell from 15 stories up. But nothing can prepare them for the third-trimester shocker delivered by Janine and her on-again off-again boyfriend (Chi McBride). Will Arnett desperately needs Arrested Development to come back and Will Forte—well he’s just lucky to have Saturday Night Live to fall back on a place where he can commiserate with fellow cast member/recent big-screen failure Andy Samberg. Arnett who has made some awful post-TV decisions but none worse than this excels at dry smart comedy so while he can make due with some of the smirk-worthy moments in Brothers the overtly moronic material falls well beneath his range and thus flat. Forte is better suited for such stupidity with his trademark imbecilic grin but as is the case on SNL his scenes tend to be more annoying than funny. Another SNL-er Wiig at least saves face by not even attempting to play it funny or sarcastic; however that just shifts the mood from too-goofy to awkwardly non-goofy. McBride (Boston Public) scores a few stereotype-exploiting laughs while Cameron Diaz look-alike and hope-to-be Malin Akerman (HBO’s The Comeback) in a role that’s completely inessential to the story is really only there for looks. And so maybe there is something redeeming about this movie! With the Judd Apatows and Seth Rogens of today brilliantly covering the whole spectrum of hilarity—from dumb to smart—doofus comedy is as dead a sub-genre as torture porn (i.e. Hostel: Part II). That said The Brothers Solomon’s concept courtesy of writer/star Forte might’ve actually worked in the vein of the aforementioned Apatow-ian system. But director Bob Odenkirk—another great-at-TV (Mr. Show) bad-at-film (Let's Go to Prison) casualty—aims very low. As with similar movies most gags are predictable overlong and unrewarding; call it “The Saturday Night Live Effect ” which expressly states that a feature-length film must try and stretch what may be mildly funny in a three-minute sketch into 90 minutes. The stretching-humor theme is in fact rampant throughout. Case in point: During an airplane-billboard scene towards the end Odenkirk displays some inventiveness for about a minute before dragging the same gag out for at least five more minutes (though it’s a challenge to keep track of time at that point).