Watching "Pineapple Express" is like sitting dead sober in a room with a bunch of stoned people who are laughing uproariously. They’re having a great time. You’re not. From "The 40-Year-Old Virgin" to "Knocked Up" to "Forgetting Sarah Marshall," I’ve been a huge fan of the comedies rolling off the Judd Apatow assembly line. But like the second "Harold and Kumar" film, this is an uneasy blend of stoner comedy and violent action thriller. James Franco is the pot-dealing Saul and Seth Rogen is Dale Denton.
I’ve always liked Rogen, and Franco does a nice job playing a character who’s basically an update on Brad Pitt’s bong-toking Floyd from "True Romance." When Dale witnesses a murder, the boys are on the run. We get a lot of those cartoon-level sequences, with Saul and Dale yelling while the bullets fly. There’s also a bizarre and creepy romance between Dale and a high school girl.
Amber Heard is funny in her scenes as Dale’s girlfriend. But even in a cheerfully offensive movie like this, it’s a bit tough to root for a a 25-year-old, pothead process server who sells dope to adolescents and makes out with his high school girlfriend by her locker. Everyone does good work here, including Danny McBride as a seemingly indestructible goofball. But director David Gordon Green, best known for subtle indie films such as "Snow Angels," seems over his head in the action sequences. And the script, co-written by Rogen, relies too much on knee-to-the-groin, bullet-to-the-gut violence that’s neither exciting nor particularly funny. Very disappointing.