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Mike Reyes, aka Mr. Controversy, has considered himself a writer ever since he was a child. He wrote for various school publications from about 1995 until 2006, and currently runs both The Bookish Kind and Mr. Controversy, which is an offshoot of the regular column he wrote in High School. He's also authored several short stories such as "The Devil's Comedian", "The Devil v. George W. Bush", and most recently "Wait Until Tomorrow". He resides in New Jersey. Any inquiries for reprinting, writing services, or general contact, should be forwarded to: michaelreyes72@hotmail.com

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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

JoBlo's DVD Clinic Audition 2: Pineapple Express (Unrated, Single Disc Edition)

As promised, here's the second review.

Mike Reyes reviews "Pineapple Express (Unrated Edition)"

Pineapple Express (Unrated Edition, Single Disc)

Movie: ***
DVD: ****
Overall: ***1/2

What's it about?

After Dale (Seth Rogan) witnesses a drug related murder, he and his pot dealer Saul (James Franco) run for their lives while trying to bring the bad guys to justice, and smoking the most rare breed of weed...the Pineapple Express.

Is it a good movie?

Pineapple Express was one of the most anticipated comedies of 2008, and when people keep telling you, "I heard people were falling out of their seats watching this", you kind of set your expectations at a certain level. I was expecting, at most, a buddy comedy with some good chase scenes and a couple quotable one liners from the pens of Rogen and Goldberg. With SUPERBAD under their belts, they've created a reputation for being funny when it comes to just two guys just having some laughs.

Make no mistake, this is a pretty funny movie, but it's still a little uneven. Everyone knows these guys love their improv, and it shows just as much as it did in SUPERBAD and KNOCKED UP. The only problem is that it's harder to get away with that type of structure in an action movie, since the story has to follow some sort of through line and the action has to be somewhat choreographed with the story. This leads to some chase sequences and fight scenes we've seen before in straight action movies, just with a couple one liners here and there that make them funny. (Think BOURNE ULTIMATUM meets UP IN SMOKE.)

What the movie lacks in clarity though, it makes up for with hysterical supporting performances. (Particularly those of Ed Begley Jr., Craig Robinson, and Bill Hader in a small cameo at the beginning of the film.) The quirks of side characters tend to be some of the funnier moments of movies like this, which is why there's still people out there today proclaiming that they are McLovin. The parts are more impressive than their sum with PINEAPPLE EXPRESS. While the total experience is a little underwhelming, there's still some pretty funny moments that make up for some of its inconsistent tone and multiple loose ends.


Video: 2.40:1 Widescreen. The look of the film is at times very 70's inspired and at times modern as can be. It's not distracting, but you can definitely tell the jump in style.

Audio: 5.1 Surround. The audio is pretty standard. In fact, it doesn't do much with the rear channels, except for playing the musical score. This leaves all the action and sound effects to be heard out of the front channels.

The Extras:

On top of having both the Theatrical and Unrated versions of the film on this disc, we have...

- Commentary by Seth Rogan, James Franco, Judd Apatow, Evan Goldberg, David Gordon Green, and Ed Begley, Jr. This commentary is worth watching the movie all over again, as it's not only informative but also hysterical. The cast is very comfortable with each other, and the jokes flow very easily. Plus, we all learn the valuable lesson that if you ever have back surgery, there's a good chance Jeff Goldblum is doing your wife.
- Extended and Alternate Scenes (9:58) Only four extended and alternate takes here, and the only one worth adding into the film would have been the "Asians In Van" scene. (The Asian subplot was underdeveloped, plus this would have been a great setup for one of the final gags in the movie.)
- Gag Reel (4:55) Naturally the gag reel is as funny as the movie and on the spot comedy makes for excellent goof ups. Plus you get to see Ed Begley Jr. get violent, which is an automatic laugh.
- The Making of Pineapple Express (21:07) More than the standard EPK, this gives us footage of table reads, filming on set, and on camera interviews. This is a "making of" that I would actually like to see expanded into feature length.
- Previews, which basically consists of the theatrical trailers for STEP BROTHERS, SUPERBAD, PAUL BLART: MALL COP, THE WACKNESS, AND BALLS OUT: GARY THE TENNIS COACH.

Final Diagnosis:

PINEAPPLE EXPRESS brings the stoner comedy into the 21st Century. More importantly it brings back the buddy action comedy in a way that redeems some of its lesser efforts of recent times. Plus, Huey Lewis and the News return in all of their glory with the theme tune over the ending credits. Movies like this tend to have impressive extras dedicated to the filming process and evolution of the jokes used in the film, and this is not a disappointment. Remember kids, never turn your back on Jeff Goldblum.


Anonymous said...

Jeff Goldblum is, no joke, the most terrifying man on the planet. Apart from perhaps Brendan Frasier, who in real life has crazy eyes.

Mr. Controversy said...

Jeff Goldblum can be pretty terrifying (especially in a 1970's street gang), and Brendan Frasier sometimes looks like he had his eyes done by the Henson Creature Shop.

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