Pineapple Express

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      Starring Seth Rogen and James Franco.

      Pineapple Express just may be the funniest movie you’ll see all summer. The screenplay by Superbad’s Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg—with producer Judd Apatow sharing a story credit—serves up a hilarious update on the classic stoner comedy. Rogen plays Dale Denton, a dumpy process server with a serious passion for smoking grass. (“It just makes everything better!”) Dale’s one-way ticket to Betterville is a small-time dope dealer named Saul (James Franco of the Spider-Man franchise), a lonely goofball who’s all too eager to spice up his dreary life by making Dale his new best friend.

      Stressed out by the prospect of meeting his girlfriend’s parents, Dale pays a visit to the good-hearted Saul, who introduces him to an exotic strain of marijuana called Pineapple Express. While enjoying a little narcotic diversion, Dale discovers that he must serve court papers to Saul’s boss, Ted (Gary Cole), a temperamental drug kingpin who’s being squeezed out of his territory by another gang. Just as Dale is about to serve Ted with the papers, he observes him killing a rival drug dealer. Freaked out, he runs to Saul for advice. And it isn’t long before the unlucky pair is on the lam—barely able to stay one step ahead of Ted’s angry henchmen.

      At its best, Pineapple Express is a little like what you’d get if someone decided to parachute Cheech and Chong into the middle of Rear Window. As a guy who’s trying to keep adulthood at bay by putting up a permanent smoke screen, Rogen comes across as a slightly seedy teddy bear. While he’s a bit shabby around the edges, you can’t help wanting to give him a hug. And yet for all of Rogen’s appeal, it’s Franco who steals the show. He makes permanent stupidity seem like so much fun that you almost want to adopt it as a lifestyle. Together, their chemistry is impossible to resist. Even when director David Gordon Green threatens to let a violent climax go off the rails, the stars never fail to get us back on track with a laugh.