It offers precisely what it advertises: a roll-'em-up, smoke-'em-up, blow-'em-up bromantic comedy from the freaks and geeks who have made Judd Apatow's brand of stunted-man yuks a global franchise. Process server Dale Denton (Seth Rogen) scores some primo dope off his lonely dealer Saul (James Franco), who's peddling Pineapple Express, which smells "like God's vagina" and smokes "like killing a unicorn." It's this very strain of sticky icky that eventually lands the tandem in trouble, as Dale witnesses a murder committed by a dealer (Gary Cole, the master of deadpan dumb-ass cool) and a corrupt cop (Rosie Perez)—and leaves behind a roach that Cole's character can ID by taste and smell. In short order, the dopes are on the run, dodging bullets, wrecking cars...and falling in love with each other. But the film's greatest achievements lie in the details likely to be lost in a torrent of delighted audience squeals. Though the screenplay was penned by Rogen and pal Evan Goldberg, much credit must be given to director David Gordon Green, a heretofore-beloved arthouse craftsman who transforms Pineapple Express from the inevitable into the unexpected. What could have been Cheech and Chong locked and loaded has its surprising moments of elegance, beauty, and...poetry? Must be the weed talking there.
True bromance: Franco (left) and Rogen.
Opens at Metro and other theaters, Wed., Aug. 6. Rated R. 105 minutes.