pineapple_express_movie_image_seth_rogen_and_james_franco_ “The Pineapple Express” was sneak premiered for members of the Chicago Cinema group, and I was there (on Thursday, July 24th). As Seth Rogan’s new film (“Superbad,” “Knocked Up”) my companion and I had high hopes for humor.

Unfortunately, while there are some laughs to be had, the overall storyline is weak. It has to do with a very rare breed of pot called Pineapple Express, which Seth buys from his dealer, a badly miscast James Franco.

Here’s my question: James Franco, who is a dead ringer for the young James Dean when he is cleaned up (and has played him on film) is cast as the scrungy-looking drug dealer. There would have been comic possibilities in the casting of “McLovin” (from “Superbad”) or, really, anyone who looks “funnier” than James Franco, who merely looks unclean in this film.

Seth Rogan, who is a process server, unwittingly witnesses a murder committed by crooked cop Rosie Perez and her boyfriend, drug lord Gary Cole. He can be tracked because he throws a half-smoked roach out the window of his car, and the Pineapple Express brand of Mary Jane is being sold only by one dealer (Franco) and has been sold to only one customer (Seth Rogan).

The problem is that the movie seeks to be an outright comedy, but there are shootings and deaths galore, which don’t add up to Com-e-dee. There is also one character who is repeatedly shot and yet remains upright and ambulatory. Not only does this defy logic and believability, it isn’t really that “funny.”

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I was disappointed in this new film, because I really loved both “Knocked Up” and “”Superbad.”