Pineapple Express

Pineapple Express may fool many people into enjoying it as a simple summer romp, like an exquisitely wrapped joint. But the true substance of the film, like the potent titular pot, comes from Dale Denton’s (Rogen) existential crisis and later realization.

At the beginning of the film,  Dale is introduced to the audience as a process server, who comedically changes outfits to trick his targets into allowing him into serving proximity. This is David Gordon Green introducing the audience to the theme he will be working with in this film in a very meta way: to TRICK, like Dale’s serving, the audience into thinking this movie is a simple comedy when it is much more thoughtful. For while this idea is funny and Rogen plays it hilariously, few pick up on the subtext of Dale changing his uniforms being a symbol for the existential confusion over who he is.

Dale doesn’t know who he is and he doesn’t seem to be going anywhere in life as he seems to be stuck in a state of arrested development with a girlfriend in high school. He is drawn as almost the epitome of a loser who is not wanted by anyone his age other than his pot dealer. So as he tricked those he served in the beginning that he was someone else, Dale TRICKS people into thinking that he is cool. After all he IS dating the hottest girl in the high school. He does so much tricking of other people that he begins to trick himself. Somehow he forgets that dating a girl in high school, 15 years younger than he is, is a total loser thing to do. So when he meets Saul Silver (Franco), his pot dealer, he sees a loser that he tricks himself into thinking he is much cooler than.

That is, until they go on an ultimate pot-saturated adventure together. There is weed, there is absurdity, and there is a touch of bromance. Those are the things that describe most of what the gut of the film is about and all three are perfectly embodied by the event that kicks it all off in the first act: The Cross-Joint. It is weed, it is completely absurd and as Saul declares, “I can’t light this thing on my own. I need you man.” That really says it all.

So what does Dale learn by the end? Well, he shows up high to his girlfriends house for dinner with her parents and is told to leave. He has the time of his life smoking pot and taking names. And admits to Saul that he has always seen him as a friend, but was too ashamed to admit it earlier. It is in this moment that Dale’s existential crisis is over for when he admits this to Saul, what he is really doing is shedding his facade, ending his trick, coming of age. What he is really saying is that he finally knows who he is: A pothead. And he’s proud of it.

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3 Responses to “Pineapple Express”

  1. thecritic28 Says:

    That too and his penis is a thumb.

    Great review.

  2. DeadlyPorpoise Says:

    Great review…I have a friend who I left behind in the UK when I moved to NZ who is Saul personified. I miss him and the bromance we once shared.

    Crit,

    I’m be commenting on your blog next, so if you could tidy up a bit, pick up a few things, vacuum….that’d be great.

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