A Trip On The Pineapple Express
ANDREA SEABROOK, host:
We've been talking about sidekicks and when you think of classic pairs, how could you not mention these guys?
(Soundbite of movie "Up in Smoke")
Mr. CHEECH MARIN (Actor): (As Pedro De Pacas) Is that a joint, man? That there looks like you've got a quarter-pounder, man.
(Soundbite of laughter)
Mr. TOMMY CHONG (Actor): (As Anthony 'Man' Stoner) Toke it out, man.
SEABROOK: Cheech and Chong, from their iconic marijuana movie "Up in Smoke." Well, a 21st century stoner flick has just hit theaters, this one from Seth Rogen. He's the guy from last summer's two big comedies, "Knocked Up" and "Superbad." His new movie, "Pineapple Express."
And NPR's Bob Mondello joins me now to talk about it. And first, Bob, we should tell our listeners where the title comes from.
BOB MONDELLO: "Pineapple Express" is a form of weed so extraordinary that it is almost traceable, that there's so little of it and it's so good that the people who sell it know exactly where it went.
SEABROOK: So Bob, let's give our listeners a taste of the kind of humor that's in this movie. Tell us what's going on in this scene.
MONDELLO: Okay, well, Seth Rogen is playing a process server. That means he serves subpoenas to people, and he describes this process to his drug dealer, Saul, who is kind of a sweet idiot and he doesn't quite get it. But when he does, he's very excited about it.
(Soundbite of movie "Pineapple Express")
Mr. JAMES FRANCO (Actor): (As Saul Silver) What's up with the suit?
Mr. SETH ROGEN (Actor): (As Dale Denton) Oh, I'm a process server so it's a hell of job.
Mr. FRANCO: (As Saul Silver) That's cool, man. You got a great job where you don't do anything.
Unidentified Man: That's what I say. I wish I had that.
Mr. ROGEN: (As Dale Denton) Are you kidding? You do. You have the easiest job on earth.
Mr. FRANCO: (As Saul Silver) That's true.
Mr. ROGEN: (As Dale Denton) You didn't think of that.
Mr. FRANCO: (As Saul Silver) I do have a good job.
Mr. ROGEN: (As Dale Denton) Yeah, you do nothing.
Mr. FRANCO: (As Saul Silver) Thanks, man.
Mr. ROGEN: (As Dale Denton) No problem.
MONDELLO: James Franco is so simple-minded in this. He's just sort of a doofus all the way through it and he's in a very good mood.
SEABROOK: Yeah, these movies always seem to be about a couple of guys messing around, getting high, getting into really stupid situations.
MONDELLO: And in this case getting into a lot of trouble too.
SEABROOK: Right, yeah, yeah. But Bob, what is it about two guys?
MONDELLO: Two guys and smoking dope, I, gee, I don't know. I wouldn't know anything about that whole scene, right? In, you know, it was a very popular form of movie back in the 1960s and early '70s and it went out of favor after a while. And this summer, I've noticed, marijuana has become, shall we say, more popular as a joke topic.
There's a film called "The Wackness" about a very sweet high school drug dealer. He makes it a point to say he only deals in marijuana, as does the drug dealer here in this picture. And the notion is that you don't go any further than that. That marijuana is it.
You know, in the eyes of police enforcement it may be an entry-level drug, but entry stops there as far as these movies are concerned. And in this particular case, it's being, the picture's being made by the Apatow factory, which may go back to your question about two guys. Apatow movies...
SEABROOK: That's Judd Apatow, right?
MONDELLO: Yes, he's a producer on this one, not a director. But he's the guy behind "Superbad" and "Knocked Up" and all these other movies. And they are very male-oriented and girls play a very secondary role in them. And it's about male bonding mostly. It's about, in this particular case it's about two guys who become friends during the course of a, an adventure in which they are basically trying to get away from some much more serious drug dealers who mean them great harm.
SEABROOK: We have a, we have another clip. This is where Seth Rogen's character just witnessed a murder.
(Soundbite of movie "Pineapple Express")
Mr. FRANCO: (As Saul Silver) No man. I got neighbors.
Mr. ROGEN: (As Dale Denton) He killed him.
Mr. FRANCO: (As Saul Silver) Who killed who?
Mr. ROGEN: (As Dale Denton) A cop. A lady and a guy.
Mr. FRANCO: (As Saul Silver) A cop, a lady and a guy, that's like a massacre. You saw it?
Mr. ROGEN: (As Dale Denton) No, it was, it was just a guy.
Mr. FRANCO: (As Saul Silver) What happened to the lady?
Mr. ROGEN: (As Dale Denton) No, no. A woman, a policewoman and a guy, another guy shot another guy, an Asian guy in the window.
Mr. FRANCO: (As Saul Silver) Is the other guy dead?
Mr. ROGEN: (As Dale Denton) I don't know. He was (inaudible).
SEABROOK: Bob, this is a good scene because I have to say there were laughs in this movie, but if people are going out and expecting a "Superbad" or a "Knocked Up," this movie just wasn't, I just thought it was kind of dumb.
MONDELLO: Oh, no, I disagree. It, let me say, I don't disagree with that. It is kind of dumb, but I find that a good thing.
MONDELLO: I think this is a very entertaining, kind of silly movie that, you know, touches on all kinds of things about friendship and about loyalty to your friends. There's a, and it has some wonderful bits in it. There's a wonderful scene where three guys who have never had a fight, who clearly never been in a fight before, start throwing punches at each other.
And it is, it is just gloriously inept chaos that is beautifully captured on film. And if you know much about filmmaking you know how difficult it is to make something like that look the way it looks in this, which is terribly disorganized and yet not have these guys hurt each other while they're doing it. I find it a very appealing, very dumb comedy. And you know, you need a couple of those in the summer, and this is one.
SEABROOK: NPR's Bob Mondello. Thanks, Bob.
MONDELLO: It's always a pleasure.
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