Tweetable Takeaway: Take this movie for what it is: a lewd trek through a green screened North Korea about sticking a metal canister up butts.
By: Wil Loper, Contributor
The movie with the biggest talk of the year is here. I’m talking about THE INTERVIEW, the latest from Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, in which a dim talk show host and his hapless producer are asked to assassinate North Korea’s supreme leader, Kim Jong Un after scoring an exclusive interview with him. From countless ads leading to its release date on Christmas Day, to its subsequent cancellations, to now being released digitally and in select theaters. Personally, I’m mostly relieved I finally get to see it after spending probably six hours of my life having to see the trailer for The Interview before other movies. The thought that I might have invested all that time seeing previews for the movie without actually getting to see the movie itself is a horrifying one indeed.
But no need to worry, for viewed it I have. Is it worth all the hoopla? Well, maybe not, but is that the point at hand? The movie is worth seeing for its fun jaunt with two enjoyable characters, but a grand sweeping statement on the evil nature of those in power, or leaders with unchecked power, or the importance of showing a movie where a current leader is assassinated will not be found here. And if it were, chances are it still wouldn’t live up to all the hype surrounding the movie. So one should check their expectations at the door, and recall that this is a movie coming from the same two guys who made last year’s This is the End, which I will remind those who have seen it and inform those who haven’t, involved a gigantic swinging demon penis and multiple storylines detailing where men could masturbate in James Franco’s mansion. So now we know what we’re really getting into with this movie.
James Franco plays Dave Skylark, successful entertainment talk show host. Seth Rogen is his producer, Aaron Rapaport. Together they break such stories as Rob Lowe’s bald head and Eminem’s true sexual orientation. Kim Jong-un, played by Randall Park in this film, loves their show and wants to be interviewed by Skylark. They agree, but not before the CIA gets involved and tells the two that along with the interview, they will be assassinating Kim Jong-un with a poisoned handshake. The two are clearly not cut out for such a job, and hilarity appropriately ensues.
The movie mainly bounces between lewd and crude in its running time, but elevates itself in a few scenes. The movie motivates Rogen’s character by running him into an old college friend who argues the merit in entertainment journalism vs. the hard news. Rapaport may be giving the people what they want, sure, but is reporting on Miley Cyrus’s cameltoe contributing to humanity as a whole? The movie doesn’t go too much further with this theme, and it’s a shame, because it put Rogen’s character on the road to three dimensions, if not at least two.
Another intriguing road the movie travels down is actually having Kim Jong-un interact with Skylark before the interview. The two shoot hoops, fire tank rounds, and discuss living up to father expectations. The movie could have left Kim as he was, this man running a country in a number of horrible ways who sticks close to only what the world has seen of him, instead the movie takes its liberties with Kim as a person and runs with them. And the movie is the better for it. It’s even harder to take North Korea’s upset over the movie when Kim Jong-un is so clearly a character in this fictional world based on reality. A documentary dedicated to exposing every flaw in Kim Jong-un’s leadership would be far worse character assassination than the assassination of a Kim Jong-un character in this movie.
The movie has some hilarious set-ups, running gags that actually pay off, and an ending that loses a little bit too much gas in its cliché shootout. James Franco hams it up so much he nearly grows a curly pig tail, but his facial expressions alone will induce giggles. Should you see this movie? Yes, but only if you take it for what it really is: a raunchy trek through a green-screened North Korea with two guys who argue about sticking a large metal canister up their butts. I give The Interview 3.5 Katy Perrys out of 5
Score: 3.5 out of 5