Pineapple Express

By Adam Lippe

pineappleexpress_lThe most surprising thing about the Seth Rogen-James Franco vehicle Pineapple Express obviously isn’t its pot humor, overt silliness, and the pushing of women to the side (this is a Judd Apatow production, after all). The surprise is that it is the most baldly homoerotic Hollywood buddy film since Damon Wayans stuck his gun up Adam Sandler’s bare ass in Bulletproof. Except in this case, it is entirely on purpose.

The heterosexual relationships aren’t remotely convincing. And that seems intentional, especially coming from a canny, smart director like David Gordon Green (George Washington, Undertow, All the Real Girls); an effective, but thoroughly strange, choice considering from the outside, Pineapple Express looks like a lazy Cheech and Chong update. No, this movie is really about men repeatedly declaring their love for each other, which cleverly hides its satirical jibes at action movies and lowbrow comedy (the most sexual moment in the film is a sensuous tracking shot covering all manners of pot plants).

That Rogen, who co-wrote the script, sprinkles very funny lines throughout, guarantees that no matter what audience sees it, they will enjoy it for their own reasons. How can you dislike a movie that has its constantly baked pot dealer talk about his “second favorite civil engineer?”

The action may have gone on a little too long (length is a major problem in every Apatow production), though it continuously mocks how unhurt or somehow alive even novices tend to be in action movies. Still, there are so many digs at the structures and compromises made in a studio film, that the nonsense makes it even funnier.

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Roadracers

By Adam Lippe

Whenever there’s a genre parody or ode to a specific era of films, such as Black Dynamite’s mocking of Blaxploitation films or Quentin Tarantino’s Death Proof, the second half of Grindhouse, the danger is that the film might fall into the trap of either being condescending without any particular insight, or so faithful that it becomes the very flawed thing it is emulating.

Black Dynamite has nothing new to say about Blaxploitation films, it just does a decent job of copying what an inept [...]


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Featured Quote (written by me)

On Cold Fish:

Though the 16 year old me described the 1994 weepie Angie, starring Geena Davis as a Brooklyn mother raising her new baby alone, as “maudlin and melodramatic,” Roger Ebert, during his TV review, referring to the multitude of soap-operaish problems piling up on the titular character, suggested that it was only in Hollywood where Angie would get a happy ending. “If they made this movie in France, Angie would have shot herself.”

Well Cold Fish was made in Japan, where Angie would have shot herself and that would have been the happy ending.