OPENS: Wednesday, Aug. 6 (Columbia).
Written by the "Superbad" duo of Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg (with story assist from Judd Apatow) and directed by David Gordon Green ("George Washington"), "Pineapple Express" is a drug-fueled caper (the title refers to a potent strain of reefer) that doesn't stint on chronically loopy characters and ridiculously funny situations.
Although pacing is definitely not one of its strong suits -- closing in on an all-too-apparent two hours, the film really is too languid to declare itself an action comedy -- the blissfully silly results should pay sweet dividends when it pulls into theaters Aug. 6.
The R-rated picture tested those adult-skewing waters over the weekend when it was unveiled at the Just for Laughs Comedy Festival in Montreal.
Rogen's Dale Denton is a likable loser of a process server who suddenly finds himself on the lam along with his permanently baked drug dealer, Saul Silver (James Franco, in a delightful change of pace), after witnessing a murder by a notorious drug lord (Gary Cole) and a dirty cop (Rosie Perez).
As they all effectively hold their own, along the way they encounter a parade of potential scene-stealers, most notably Danny McBride ("The Foot-Fist Way") as Silver's yellow-bellied, back-stabbing bud Red.
While on the subject of colors, director Green, known for his more serious, character-driven indie fare, proves to be an inspired match for the material, with Rogen and regular writing partner Goldberg again delivering on those colorful phrasings that are definitely not for family consumption.
But it's with that action aspect that "Pineapple Express" differs from Apatow's previous production output, and though, the words "taut" and "pulse-pounding" would never apply, the giddily over-the-top fight sequences, choreographed by veteran stunt coordinator Gary Hymes, handily compensate for the lag time.
And who better than Huey Lewis and the News to convey the picture's "I Want a New Drug" sentiments, with their stirring rendition of the closing "Pineapple Express" theme song?
Production: Columbia, Relativity Media, Apatow Prods.
Cast: Seth Rogen, James Franco, Gary Cole, Rosie Perez, Danny McBride; Director: David Gordon Green; Screenwriters: Seth Rogen & Evan Goldberg; Producers: Judd Apatow, Shauna Robertson. Executive producers: Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg; Director of photography: Tim Orr; Production designer: Chris Spellman. Music: Graeme Revell; Costume designer: John Dunn; Editor: Craig Alpert.
Rated R, 112 minutes.