Saturday, April 11, 2009

watched Pineapple Express last night. I now have 2 Apatow/Rogen movies under the belt. it had its moments, and some limitations. Seth Rogen is a likeable presence, everyman lug and wise ass. in this movie he is a process server, which is only relevant for the first few minutes, during which he serves subpoenas and smokes dope. this is Rogen at his most comfortable, and he is funny to watch. the plot shifts to his girlfriend, who is still in high school. which is played for laughs but we are still supposed to take the relationship seriously. it is just awkward, and is largely left behind for the rest of the film. the plot begins in earnest when Rogen goes to buy more pot. his source is James Franco, total stoner. I know Franco only from Spiderman, where he has to be overwrought, but goodlooking. he and Rogen are great together, even to the uncomfortable point of you thinking you knew these guys in college. after Rogen leaves he witnesses a murder by a drug lord. in his distress Rogen leaves a joint at the scene, which the drug lord easily identifies (it is the rare weed pineapple express), so Rogen and Franco go on the run. here things get stupid, and a little tone deaf. there is a Tarrentino mix of murder and mirth that does not settle well with stoner contentment. the humour is slapstick but, well, I must bring up the Three Stooges. the slapstick of the Stooges was stylized in a way that detached the mayhem from gross consequence. in this movie, the violence looks painful, and characters die. so the humour gets quashed. our stoner heroes are joined by another stoner, who is hilarious. the cast is solid, tho Ed begley and Nora dunn are wasted as the girlfriend's parents. when they appeared, it seemed like the movie might be perched on absurdity, but they ended up just fulminating. ApaRogen movies seem improvisational. I imagine that the story is whipped up over a weekend, the script over the following week, then they take a week or so to film, and it is all fun and games. that is how it seems. it works because the cast is solid but I think this sort of production eventually wears thin. I find that I do not want to see another trailer for a Will Ferrell movies, because they are blurring together, and I suspect that Rogen and Apatow may be doing the same thing.
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