Monday, May 18, 2009

Battle of the Netflix Stars #6

Bout #6: Battle of the Bromantic Comedies

Movie:Role ModelsPineapple Express
Director:David WainDavid Gordon Green
Star Power:Paul Rudd, Seann William Scott, Elizabeth BanksJames Franco, Seth Rogen, Gary Cole, Rosie Perez
Plot:Danny (Rudd) and Wheeler (Scott) have easy jobs selling energy drinks, a life that sex-crazed slacker Wheeler is more than happy with. Danny, on the other hand, hates his life, along with himself and everyone else. When his lawyer girlfriend Beth (Banks) dumps him, he finally loses it and goes on a rampage that lands both him and Wheeler in jail. Beth works out a deal that will keep them out of prison, but forces them to do 150 hours of community service in a "Big Brother"-type program. Danny's charge is Augie, a geeky LARPer, while Wheeler ends up with Ronnie, a troubled foul-mouthed son of a single mom. It soon becomes unclear in each relationship just who is the child and who is the adult.After eternally stoned process server Dale Denton (Rogen) witnesses a murder committed by a corrupt cop (Perez) and a drug lord (Cole), he is forced to go on the run with his pot dealer, Saul Silver (Franco), after realizing that he left behind some Pineapple Express - a rare strain of weed that only Saul has access to - at the scene of the crime. As the bad guys hunt them down, an unlikely friendship forms between the sensitive, laid-back Saul and Dale, a guy who is awfully uptight for a pothead.
Pros:The adorable Paul Rudd; a cast featuring members of comedy troupe The State (of which director David Wain was also a member), whose brand of absurd humor is always welcome; the always hilarious Jane Lynch; the amazing kids - Christopher "McLovin" Mintz-Plasse and Bobb'e J. Thompson; the mere presence of Ken Jeong.
Rogen and Franco's chemistry and comedic timing; screen vets like Gary Cole and Ed Begley Jr. in hilarious "angry guy" roles; the perfect blend of different movie genres (comedy, action, adventure, drama); the mere presence of Ken Jeong (again), who is quickly becoming my favorite in Judd Apatow's stable of supporting players.
Cons:There are some clichéd moments, but nothing that will make you wretch.
Although a Jason Segel and/or Paul Rudd cameo would've been nice, I can't really think of any cons. I even liked Danny McBride in this, who I've never found funny. Even more amazingly, Rosie Perez actually didn't annoy me at all!
My Thoughts:Even though this came out before Rudd's other male bonding comedy, I Love You, Man, I actually saw it after that one and couldn't help comparing the two. I Love You, Man is far superior for many reasons - namely, because Rudd's chemistry with Jason Segel is much better than with Seann William Scott. I just don't see his character and Rudd's character EVER becoming friends, although the actors somehow make it work. And without comparing the movie to anything else, it's just fine. I felt like it was a bit formulaic in parts, but still hit both the "funny" and "heartwarming" marks that it needed to. I will say that, even though I love Paul Rudd, I felt like the real stars of this movie - and the ones who provided the most laugh-out-loud moments - were the supporting cast, especially the aforementioned Lynch, Jeong, Mintz-Plasse, and Thompson, as well as Joe Lo Truglio and Ken Marino.I wasn't sure I believed all the hype about how great this movie was, but I was very pleasantly surprised. I was never a huge James Franco fan (in my defense, I've only recently discovered the glory that is Freaks & Geeks) and was unconvinced that he was the "revelation" that critics and audiences were claiming him to be in this movie. However, he completely won me over. Saul Silver is one of the most lovable movie characters I've ever seen. Of course, Franco is not all there is to love here. The movie is thoroughly enjoyable, somehow managing to be many disparate things at the same time (action movie and action movie parody, goofy buddy comedy and touching [b]romance) as it throws realistic characters into a ridiculous scenario. Even if you're burned out on the ubiquitous Seth Rogen, this one is not only worth watching, but it's worth owning.
Final Grade:BA

Note: As good as these movies are, I Love You, Man is still better than both of them. If you haven't seen that yet, shame on you for six weeks.


red said...

I liked both of these (though I think PE would have been more enjoyable if I'd ever been high), but I laughed harder at I Love You, Man. Totes Mcgotes.

words...words...words... said...

I haven't seen either of these OR I Love You, Man. How many weeks does that get me?

Also, I could never get sick of Seth Rogen.

Word ver is "teazing" which sounds like slutty teasing.

Anonymous said...

My 'movies I want to watch' list has gotten so out of hand I'm downright intimidated by it at this point. Both of these, as well as I Love You, Man, are near the top.

I enjoyed reading your reviews. I like the side-by-side comparisons.

I'm having a hard time finding the words I want to say... just, I like your blog as a whole. Good reading. Thanks.


Fancy Schmancy said...

I've only seen Role Models so far, which I thought was hysterical, especially at the end. I guess I have to give Pineapple Express a chance.

Soda and Candy said...

Good reviews! Although I'm not a big Apatow fan, I do enjoy a little Paul Rudd occasionally.

; )

Billy said...

You are the fourth person to sing incredibly high praises for I Love You, Man. It's just a matter of when I can find it used and buy the damn thing at this point.

Enjoyable compare/contrast action you had there.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, another James Franco fan converted! In case you need more reasons:

Gifted Typist said...

lovin' the table work you put into these comparison reviews. I've done table work for websites. I know the pain they can cause

Candy's daily Dandy said...

ok, I'm going to see I love you man..

LOVED Role Models. I inapproprately bought the DVD for my 13 year-old son and then wonder why he's using muther-f-er like an old pro.

my bad...

The Imaginary Reviewer said...

I haven't actually seen any films for about six months. Actually, that's not true. I saw 300 about a month ago.

Anonymous said...

I still haven't seen "I Love You Man" mainly due to my Segel abhorence, but I liked P.E. just for the chemistry and banter between Rogen and Franco. And yes, thank you! I also never find Danny McBride funny. AT ALL. I hated "Eastbound and Down" and I'm normally thrilled by loud, vulgar comedy. It just wasn't funny.

Anonymous said...

But I see it was Role Models you were reviewing and I HAVE seen that. :) Haha! It was ok. Watchable with some funny moments but not great. The end.

Falwless said...

Vegetable - I'm glad it wasn't only me. What the hell WAS "Eastbound and Down"? Seriously. I mean, I watched every episode just because I kept thinking, "Maybe this will get better or I'll begin to understand its appeal if I just keep watching..." Alas, I did not. Honestly. Effing terrible.

As for Pineapple Express and Role Models, I must admit I enjoyed the latter much more than the former. Possibly because I fell asleep during Pineapple Express. And I'm not a big Rogen fan, at all. And the whole thing was sorta dumb. Minus Franco - I love me some Franco.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Oh yeah, nothing beats Pineapple Express. Around here anyway, it has been responsible for an entirely new activity - perfecting the Rogen laugh.

mike said...

I only saw Pineapple Express. It was funny, but I want to see the other one more. Nice job breaking it down for me.

Dianna said...

Oooooooh! FRANCO!!
Check where all the Francophiles hang out.

LiLu said...


We're done.


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