Pineapple Express (Green, 2008)

Like most familiar with film culture, I understand a good trailer does not necessarily equal a good film. But with Pineapple Express, the newest Judd Apatow venture directed (seemingly in name only) by David Gordon Green, the discrepancy in innovation, tone, and overall impact between teaser and feature is downright shocking. Released a few months back, the dynamic Red Band trailer for Pineapple Express (which brilliantly juxtaposes rhythmic slow motion, comedy, brutal violence, and a killer song from MIA) hints at a stunning possibility – an artistic, formally innovative mainstream stoner comedy. The feature, anchored by a swiss cheese script, fails miserably on this promise, replacing coherent narrative storytelling with stream of consciousness drivel supposedly excused by the idiotic, heightened state of its two leads (played by Seth Rogen and James Franco). Still, personal disappointment aside, Pineapple Express manages to buck conventional Hollywood trends in interesting ways. Dialogue scenes are uncomfortably stretched out (presumably because of the improvisation taking place), pop culture references are eliminated, and specific time and place settings remain ambiguous throughout. This makes for a strange relationship between two formats at odds. The complex ambition of the short trailer and the eccentric simplicity of the feature create a tension in authorship worthy of further analysis.