Aug 102008

As a Huey Lewis and the News fan, I had to go see this movie, seeing how they were commissioned to write the theme song, their first released new song in the better part of a decade.

Meanwhile the IP lawyer in me finds the story of how they came to do it amusing: Apparently the movie’s producers saw a Ghostbusters van and got to thinking how nice it would be to have had a theme song like that movie had.

But then they remembered, “Wait, didn’t Huey Lewis sue over that song?”

Which naturally led into the next thought, “Why don’t we ask Huey Lewis to write us a theme song?” So they did, he agreed, and the rest is history.

Interestingly Huey Lewis and the News didn’t actually prevail in their copyright suit against Ray Parker Jr. for infringing on their “I Want a New Drug” song. Instead there was a confidential settlement. But there may be an important lesson here, that even if you don’t win your infringement lawsuit there may still be a payoff. Or at least an opportunity to write more songs about drugs…

Pineapple Express, you see, is of the “stoner movie” genre. Take two friends, add some marijuana, and hijinks ensue. Supposedly.

Entering the theater I had great fear that watching said hijinks was going to force my own brain cells to self-immolate, but I ended up pleasantly surprised: I liked the movie. It was entertaining, funny, intelligent when it needed to be, satirical when it needed to be, and better-acted than many reviews would have you believe. One of the criticisms I’d read was that writer and lead actor Seth Rogen was not the actor the role called for him to be, but I observed no such weakness. Again, it wasn’t Shakespeare, but his movie had a point of view and he was able to act in a way that conveyed it.

I’d also seen criticism that the movie was too inconsistent genre-wise. That it failed as an action movie, for instance. True, there was action. A car chase, for instance, that was action-packed and incredibly funny. And a final body-count shoot-em-up scene, where the protagonists managed to keep their their humanity amidst the gore. For fans of gore, or car chases, perhaps such a cinematic choices would be a negative. Personally, however, as someone who just wanted to see a dramatically cohesive movie, I considered them a positive.

In fact, I appreciated how tight the script was. While other dramatic works I’ve seen lately have been good but not consistently good throughout, I thought this one was. It was balanced, consistent, funny, clever, and not a waste of my time.
That said, however, I have no intention of seeing it again. I think I’ve gotten all the enjoyment out of it I ever will.

Especially because the criticism I do have about the movie relates to the very reason I went to see it in the first place: the HLN theme song. Which only appears in the credits, and twenty seconds into them, after people have already started leaving the theater. A different song begins to play as they fade out, and then it’s if the producers suddenly remembered, “Wait, we have the Huey Lewis song!”

But I guess that’s what one has to expect from a stoner movie. Like Seth Rogen’s character observes, “When we’re high we’re not all that functional.” The movie producers might want to take note…

 Posted by at 10:16 pm

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