David Gordon Green‘s Pineapple Express (Sony, 8.8) has been showing here and there, and a friend is telling me that aside from James Franco‘s career-changing performance as a stupid pot dealer, it’s a little coarse. It’s loud, “lots of mayhem,” youth-market-pandering, an “Abbott & Costello chase film,” full of explosions and “very, very violent,” he says. One comment was especially disturbing: “I’m not sure this is your kind of film.” What?, I said. I love smart stoner humor, I said. The Big Lebowski, Wonder Boys …that kind of thing. Guys with baked brains. It’s not on that level, he said. It’s louder, noisier…lots of explosions. Oh, I said. Well, there’s always Franco.
That aside, the friend said, the young audience he saw it with “ate it up…laughed at everything, even the women.” So it’s not for stoner sophisticates…fine. Basically an animal movie. Another Harold and Kumar thing except on a slightly higher level, a young girl said last night. “But it’s not Superbad,” my guy says. It’s not? “I don’t know what it is but David Gordon Green was never directed comedy before and….well, the violence is a much bigger factor than I expected.”
What about “episodic stoner segues,” I said? Side episodes in which they get all tangled up and confused over stuff that a normal person without pot issues would be able to handle but the stoners can’t because they’re too fried? “It’s not on that level,” he said. “It’s not as steeped in dry stoner humor as Lebowski is. It’s a little more pandering than that.”