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This stoner comedy/action genre bender follows a pair of druggie losers as they reach the top of the hit-list when one witnesses a mob murder and drags his buddy into a crazy flight from mobsters bent on silencing both of them permanently.
For more about Pineapple Express and the Pineapple Express Blu-ray release, see Pineapple Express Blu-ray Review published by Kenneth Brown on January 1, 2009 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.5 out of 5.
Starring: Seth Rogen, James Franco, Danny McBride, Kevin Corrigan, Craig Robinson, Gary Cole
Director: David Gordon Green
» See full cast & crew
Pineapple Express Blu-ray Review
Getting high in high-def...
Reviewed by Kenneth Brown, January 1, 2009
I generally hate… hate stoner comedies. I can't stomach their mind-numbingly inane dialogue, can't stand their dimwitted main characters, and just can't get excited about their ridiculous stories or aimless subplots. Maybe I despise the genre because I've never partaken of the goods, so to speak, or maybe it's because I don't have any patience for directionless humor that relies on the same weak gags, ad nauseum. Either way, I always try to donate my nine dollars elsewhere when I go to the theater. With that little personal tidbit in mind, I'm sure you can imagine how surprised I was when I reluctantly sat down to watch Pineapple Express and enjoyed every unhinged minute of it.
When a 25-year old process server named Dale Denton (Seth Rogen) witnesses a murder perpetrated by criminal kingpin Ted Jones (Gary Cole) and corrupt cop Carol Brazier (Rosie Perez), he goes into hiding with his good-natured drug dealer, Saul (James Franco). The bumbling duo panic at first but soon decide to visit Saul's supplier, Red (played with effortless control by scene-stealer Danny McBride), to gauge how much trouble they're actually in. Unfortunately, two of Jones' hitmen (Kevin Corrigan and The Office's Craig Robinson) already have Red in their pocket and close in on Dale and Saul shortly after their arrival. The two potheads hit the road, desperately trying to figure out a way to settle Jones' temper, evade their pursuers, and keep their loved ones safe.
I suspect producer Judd Apatow and director David Gordon Green (indie faves George Washington, All the Real Girls, and Undertow) share my distaste for more predictable and repetitive stoner comedies. The filmmakers go to great lengths to make Pineapple Express something different, something infinitely wittier and more precise than the meandering messes that litter the genre. It doesn't hurt that they treat their characters as inherently intelligent people whose faculties are running a bit slower than most. It's a subtle variation, but it makes the jokes sharper, the circumstances funnier, and the tone more infectious. Perhaps its the director's experience with character dramas showing through, but he's crafted a collection of legitimately likeable and relatively well-intentioned protagonists that managed to earn my genuine affection. Combined with the actors' firm grasp on their characters, the cast's collective chemistry, and Green's impeccable timing, the results are memorable, hilarious, and, oddly enough, heartwarming.
There are times when the second act gets a bit tedious (I can only endure Rogen and Franco's paranoia schtick for so long) and the action-oriented, gore-infused climax feels slightly forced in light of the breezy setup, but I never felt disconnected from the film, its characters, or their plight. All in all, Pineapple Express really took me by surprise. I laughed myself to tears more often than I care to admit, I continually found myself rooting for Dale and Saul (Red too!), and I finally found a stoner comedy that deserves to sit alongside the rest of my home video collection. I'm sure it will be a love-it-or-hate-it flick for most people, but I have a feeling I'll be revisiting it again, sooner rather than later.
Pineapple Express Blu-ray, Video Quality
Pineapple Express features a striking 1080p/AVC-encoded transfer that captures every lick of flame and sliver of splintering wood that flicks across the screen. After a brief black and white opening sequence, the film springs to life with a vibrant and stable palette that offers fans natural skintones, authoritative primaries, and deep blacks. Regardless of whether the camera is crammed in Dale's car or roaming free in the open forest, contrast is spot on and image depth is convincing and inviting. Better still, detail is sharp and consistent. Fine textures pop, edges are crisp (without the aid of any distracting edge enhancement), small background text is legible, and shadow delineation is refined and revealing. In fact, pause any scene in Saul's apartment and you'll be treated to a cornucopia of easter eggs and hidden goodies. Many of the film's backgrounds are populated with similar gags – strange souvenirs, hilarious posters, and peculiar paraphernalia – that are sure to slap a grin on your face.
It also helps that the image doesn't suffer from any significant artifacting, invasive source noise, color banding, or pesky DNR. I did catch a pair of nighttime scenes that weren't as perfectly resolved as I prefer and a handful of establishing shots that were softer than the rest of the film, but each issue was extremely rare and only appeared for a few seconds at a time. Ultimately, the Blu-ray edition of Pineapple Express looks far better than its standard DVD counterpart, stacks up well against other impressive high-def releases, and will surely please fans of the film.
Pineapple Express Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Loaded with an unexpected assortment of gunshots, explosions, and collisions, Pineapple Express breaks the comedy mold with a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 surround track that actually uses the rear soundstage and LFE channel to its advantage. While the film's action-oriented sonics aren't as sophisticated or dynamic as those in Wanted or Hot Fuzz, low-end support still adds plenty of power and notable oomph to the on-screen chaos. These frantic sequences showcase the sound design's precise directionality, realistic pans, and immersive soundfield. More importantly, dialogue is crisp, clear, and well prioritized, even in the midst of the film's third act madness. A few panicked shouts and heated exclamations are muffled by the volatile soundscape, but any important dialogue is intelligible and intact.
The only downside is that the track is a bit uneven. Since the film is focused on its conversational comedy more than its splashy action sequences, the mix is often a front-heavy affair that won't challenge your surround sound system. Fortunately, even the quietest scenes feature enough ambient support and convincing acoustics to keep things interesting. All things considered, Pineapple Express sounds great and isn't haunted by any serious problems or technical mishaps.
Pineapple Express Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Not only has Sony included the 112-minute theatrical version and 117-minute extended cut of the film, they've ported over every special feature from the standard and 2-disc Unrated Special Edition DVD. As an added bonus, the studio also incorporated BD-Live functionality into the disc and encoded a good portion of the video content in high definition.
I wouldn't recommended plowing through everything at once (even the most diehard fans will grow weary from the seemingly endless onslaught of outtakes), but the breadth of the package does manage to take some of the sting out of the disc's price.
Pineapple Express Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
I never thought it would happen, but a stoner comedy finally won my heart. Pineapple Express is hilarious, weaving action and comedy together into an infectious package many of you will adore. The Blu-ray release of the film is even better. It features an excellent video transfer, a strong TrueHD audio track, and a generous collection of supplemental material. I won't guarantee everyone will love it as much as I did, but this high-def comedy is definitely worth checking out.
Pineapple Express: Other Editions
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