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DVD Review: Pineapple Express 2-Disc Unrated Special Edition

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Packed with more special features then should be deemed legal, the Pineapple Express 2-Disc is another excuse to sit your ass in front of the television on a Friday night and into Saturday morning. This is the good stuff. I drool with anticipation when a movie produced by Judd Apatow comes out. His DVDs aren’t just home videos, they’re events. Pineapple Express continues the tradition with a truckload of “making of” material, skits, and commentary tracks. A few featurettes taste like milk duds, but not enough to ruin the special edition’s value. Pineapple Express is worth more that what you paid your favorite video dealer.

The movie stars Seth Rogen as a process server named Dale Denton who witnesses a murder while attempting to deliver a subpoena. Dale flees, dropping his joint filled with Pineapple Express, an extremely rare strain of marijuana. The killer, Ted Jones (Gary Cole), was the man he was supposed to serve with the subpoena. Unfortunately, he also happens to be the supplier for Dale’s drug dealer, Saul Silver (James Franco). Ted assumes the two work for his competitors, the Asians, and sends henchmen to kill them. These include Rosie Perez as a corrupt cop and two assassins played by Kevin Corrigan (Superbad, Undeclared) and Chris Robinson (Knocked Up, The Office)

What I liked most about Pineapple Express was its stoner take on action movies by directors like John McTiernan and Quentin Tarantino. On the other hand, it has noticeably fewer one-liners than Knocked Up and Superbad. A somewhat hastily written screenplay makes certain scenes silly and confusing. Plus, the character Ted is hardly a menacing lead villain. Sure he’s merciless in the opening act. But then he inexplicably devolves into a non-functioning alcoholic during the film’s midsection. By the finale, Ted’s turned back into a killer. It’s unclear what the writers were smoking.

The extended cut tacks five minutes onto the theatrical release. The hit men interrogate Saul’s drug dealer friend, Red, who frets about lying to his friends. Adding this shot makes Red looks less sleazy and more like the buddy who always wimps out. The filmmakers include a nice joke where Ted nicknames more pot varieties. When Ted threatens the Asians, his son (Troy Gentile, Drillbit Taylor) interrupts him on another phone. We also see one more scene with Dale’s girlfriend, Angie (Amber Heard) and her parents.

The Extras

Disc one includes the theatrical and extended cuts, commentary, and a few featurettes. You’re missing out if you want to save a few bones, as Saul would say, buying the regular edition. If I were to critique every feature on this Special 2-Disc Edition you’d be reading my review for a week. Definitely check these out:

If Judd Apatow’s name is on the box, expect the cast and crew commentaries to sound like a party. The Pineapple Express DVD assembles the biggest crowd I’ve ever seen. On this track we have actor/writer/executive producer Seth Rogen, actors Danny McBride, James Franco, Craig Robinson, and Rosie Perez, producer Judd Apatow, writer/executive producer Evan Goldberg, and director David Green. I’m not done yet. Actors Ed Begley Jr., Kevin Corrigan and producer Shauna Robertson are on board for part of the time. Quite a feat of scheduling, though Kevin Corrigan has to call in to the studio from his dentist’s chair. When the group gets to talking about the movie, it’s unusual that they point out the flaws along with the usual trivia. Rogen teases critics who thought the story made sense.

The “Direct-O-Rama” featurette shows off David Gordon Green’s unique directing style. He might tell an actor to do karate while reciting lines, or to talk like a robot. Green’s instructions get even weirder and, dare I say, obscene. Play the film again after viewing this and the “Raw Footage” section, and Pineapple Express will be funnier now that you know the inspiration behind the acting.

“Item 9” is a B/W training video preaching the dangers of Pineapple Express. Justin Long, Ken Jeong, and Joe Lo Truglio play test subjects. Long‘s character, a Christian health inspector, feels he’s attained nirvana smoking weed. While Jeong and Lo Truglio as a college professor and janitor experience paranoid delusions. I like Long’s performance. His southern drawl differs from his Dodgeball and Mac computer commercial roles. He’s a better actor than he gets credit for.

“Raw Footage” shows individual takes of various scenes. Listen to ‘My Cat’s Birthday’ and ‘Tit Butter’ for the director controlling the improvisation and feeding lines. “Injury Report” documents injuries to the cast. James Franco’s female fans will wince seeing him run into a tree twice during the forest scenes. Watch all the way to the end for some really nasty surprises.

Call it odd, call it a sales pitch, call it funny as hell. “Begley’s Best” follows Pineapple Express actor and southern California’s King of Green, Ed Begley, as he hawks his environmentally safe cleaning supplies around L.A. No kidding, this is a real brand. He’s so enthusiastic it’s ridiculous. The sole reason he runs this small business is because he neglected to read the part of the contract saying he was buying drums of chemicals to bottle them himself. I guess some stoners watching the DVD are environmentalists too and will spring for his cleaner.

Lastly, check out “Table Read” for videotaped readings of two scenes. One is the scene where Dale and Saul break up after the police chase sequence. Notice sometimes the best ideas don’t materialize on the first read through. A couple great lines about monkeys being out of the bottle and Pandora’s Box are missing at this point. "Underwater GPS" is an aborted action scene with Dale and the Asians.

Unfortunately there apparently weren’t that many deleted scenes or funny lines worth saving from the trash bin. We get the full version of the diner scene conclusion, which is hilarious, but how come no extra Danny McBride lines? According to the director, he had hardly any scripted dialogue. Oh well, the other features make up for a lack of extra comic riffs.

The DVD creators could have ended the special features at 19 and had a well-packed set with an awesome commentary track. But they kept going and stashed Easter eggs. Notice I said eggs plural. Find them by clicking the pictures on the menu screens that change color. Check everywhere on disc two, and I mean everywhere. Watching the Pineapple Express 2-Disc Special edition, you’ll wonder where the bottom is to this goodie bag.

Grade: A-

EXTRAS

Disc 1:

  • Theatrical and Extended Versions of the Film
  • Commentary with Filmmakers and Cast
  • Extended and Alternate Scenes
  • Gag Reel
  • The Making of Pineapple Express

Disc 2:

  • Deleted Scenes
  • More Extended and Alternate Scenes
  • The Action of Pineapple Express
  • Phone Booth
  • Line-O-Rama
  • Direct-O-Rama
  • Item 9
  • Saul’s Apartment
  • Raw Footage
  • Begley’s Best
  • Red and Jessica’s Guide to Marriage
  • Injury Report
  • Stuntmaster Ken
  • Rehersal Footage
  • First Table Read
  • Comic-Con Panel

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