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Pineapple Express (DVD Review)

30 Dec, 2008 By: John Latchem

Pineapple Express

Street 1/6/09
Sony Pictures
Box Office $87.3 million
$28.96 DVD, $34.95 two-DVD set, $39.95 Blu-ray, $24.94 UMD
Rated ‘R’ for pervasive language, drug use, sexual references and violence.
Stars Seth Rogen, James Franco, Danny McBride, Gary Cole, Rosie Perez.

Somewhere in Pineapple Express is a message about the detrimental effects of smoking weed. Yet it’s couched in the typical sort of Judd Apatow-produced film that claims as its core demographic stoners and drunk college kids.

Apatow and co-writers Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen, the brains behind Superbad, found inspiration in Brad Pitt’s brief appearance as a stoner in True Romance. Their concept was to make a whole movie about that kind of character.

The story deals with a couple of stoners caught in the middle of a turf war between rival drug-dealing empires. Grafted onto that simple premise is an increasingly bizarre sequence of jokes, pop-culture references and fight scenes. The story drifts from scene to scene across the usual assortment of free-association improv dialogue.

The entire cast is pretty top notch. Rogen and James Franco are great as the stoners on the run. And Ed Begley Jr. shines in a minor role as the father of Rogen’s high-school aged girlfriend, annoyed at having to hide out in a motel because his daughter is dating this loser.

Pineapple Express works best as a comedy but begins to drag in the second hour once it morphs into a surreal Jerry Bruckheimer-style action movie. The unrated version runs about 5 minutes longer than the theatrical cut. The film runs a bit long at nearly two hours, so the theatrical version will probably satisfy most viewers.

The basic DVD package includes both theatrical and unrated versions of the film, plus a gag reel, alternate takes, a making-of featurette and a wild commentary featuring the cast and crew, who mostly talk about the general fun of making the film without focusing on specific scenes.

The two-DVD set and Blu-ray versions add more deleted scenes, more behind-the-scenes featurettes, more alternate takes and other fun stuff such as highlights from the Pineapple Express Comic-Con panel.

The best extra, if only because of the randomness of it, is a glimpse into the life of Begley as he runs his mail-order cleaning-supply business. A noted environmentalist, Begley sells non-toxic cleaning supplies under the “Begley’s Best” label over the Internet and to select stores, to which he personally delivers the product.

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