Clint rides The Pineapple Express

I saw “The Pineapple Express” about a month ago now – and I barely remember it. Normally, that wouldn’t say a lot for the film, but bare in mind, I’ve about fifty different jobs going on right now, plus I’m taking care of a baby on my lonesome for about ten hours a day, so there’s not a lot of room up to to remember anything other than ‘that deadline’ and ‘that bottle’. Still, I have to admit it, I was a little bit disappointed by this one.

2008 is really proving to be pretty limp when it comes to cinema. From the outset, the year’s offerings accumulated to what we all suspected to be the equivalent of an invite to the party of the year – Indy! Iron Man! Hulk! 007! Batman! Keanu Reeves as a bent copper! – but one in which we soon discovered the alcohol had been forgotten, the guests were as dull as a sober Ted Kennedy, and the highlights were far and far between.

We’ve all experienced the feeling of wanting to chop the balls of the theater usher as we walk out of the theater – and the urge to toss his disattached sack in the popcorn mix in the way out. But this year, some are said to be actually doing that. Check your popcorn the next time you buy a ticket to something.

Some studios aren’t even trying anymore. The benchmark used to be “Citizen Kane”, nowadays it’s “The Benchwarmers”.

Writer-Producer-Director Judd Apatow is a guy that does seem to be trying – he hasn’t made a bad movie yet; “Knocked Up” was gold, “Superbad” was wildly entertaining, and “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” was fun – which is why it hurts even more to have to include his latest [as producer] into that pile of this year’s disappointments. But I’d lying if I didn’t admit it’s only half the film the others were. It’s a lukewarm effort.

“The Pineapple Express” – the latest highly anticipated new comedy from Apatow and ‘regular’ headline act Seth Rogen (“Knocked Up”, “Superbad”) – couldn’t be any more aptly named. Like a train, the David Gordon Green-directed comedy moves pretty damn slowly, and there aren’t too many highlights along the way (in fact sometimes it even comes to a complete stop). In fact, the best thing you can say about it is that it’s a comfortable ride and ultimately does get you from point A to point B.

In the film, Rogen and James Franco play a stoner and his dealer, respectively, who are forced to go on the run from the police after the pothead witnesses a murder. Now the killers (Gary Cole and Rosie Perez) are hot on their tail.

What follows is an hour-and-a-half of over-the-top action sequences, amusing but gratuitous violence, and drug gags.

It sounds like I didn’t like it – that’s not true. I did like it, just didn’t love it. Side-by-side with other recent comedies – whatever Will Ferrell and Adam Sandler have been doing – it’s not a bad movie. As something Judd Apatow has had his hand in though? Well, it just feels half-finished – a good idea that doesn’t result in as many laughs as the filmmakers had probably hoped. There’s also a lot of ‘dull’ spots – a moment where the two guys hide out in the scrub seems to take up half-the-movie…and for no real reason.

Seems the guy that comes in to help Apatow and co-writer Seth Rogen punch up the jokes, load the script with pop-culture references and suggest funny cameos (where the heck was Paul Rudd?) was off that day…. cashing his check for the three-picture deal he just scored with the Culpepper crowd. Yes, stars Seth Rogen and James Franco were as good as usual – but someone really needed to stick a sparkler up the director’s rear-end to get not only them, but the film, moving a little faster… and with more pow. I’ll watch it ‘Caffeinated’ – or as high as Condorman – next time and see if it plays better for me.

“Pineapple” isn’t completely devoid of juice – it’s not as tasty as one might expect. If you’re looking for the next “Knocked Up” or “Superbad” look elsewhere. If you’re looking for a mish-mash of “See No Evil, Hear No Evil” and “Hot Fuzz”? this could be for you.

Love the theme song though…