Overview: Seth Rogen and James Franco bring their unique brand of comedy to a movie that deserves all our attention. Columbia Pictures? 2014? Rated R. 112 minutes.
What Just Happened: I’ll dive headfirst into the quality of the film in a moment; First, we need to appreciate a movie this insane even exists and why it’s a shame it has no plans for a release. The insanity isn’t surface texture in the same way Bayhem somehow draws people to the box office. We live in a world where everyone spends time apologizing instead of cracking jokes. The movie is just that: a fucking joke. It’s refreshing to see a group of people come together to make a movie willing to express as much creative freedom as possible. It’s an art form, really. To constrict freedom of speech and creativity is sickening. As of the writing of this review, the DHS has said the threats made by the hackers are not credible. For years there have been talks of not negotiating or backing down from terrorists; otherwise, they would win. I never once thought cinematic art would be a casualty of war. When The Interview is eventually released – on VOD, Blu, etc – I implore all of you to go watch it. Watch it with a group of friends. Watch it drunk on American patriotism. America doesn’t always do good, and lord knows we’ve fucked up big time this year, but I believe we can still make a win out of this one down the road.
Back to Your Regularly Scheduled Review: When Dave Skylark (James Franco) and Aaron Rapoport (Seth Rogen) reach their thousand episode mark on their trashy talk show, Rapaport looks for a real newsworthy interview to share with the world. After hearing how Kim Jong Un is a fan of the show, the two are honey-potted into doing the interview by the CIA. It’s not black and white (politics never are) and the two find themselves questioning the people who hired them and the one they’re supposed to “take out.” If Un is killed, what state does that leave the country of North Korea in? Who picks up where Un left off? Maybe Un isn’t so bad and perhaps even misunderstood? The Interview doesn’t change the game with political satire but it addresses the questions in a mature manner while tossing out plenty of poop jokes.
There’s one reason why you pair great comedic duos like Rogen and Franco together: their chemistry can make anything work. Rogen is less in his Pineapple Express mode and more in-tune with the more mature characters he plays in This Is the End and Neighbors. He can effortlessly become a giant goofball while maintaining a professional credibility his character requires. Franco gets the likable idiot shtick and swings for the fences. He almost strikes out but wraps it into a neat little character arc. I think poop and butt jokes are a cheap way to get an audience to chuckle. Watching every single primary character get to partake in a verbal exchange regarding poop and butt holes almost brought me to tears. Lizzy Caplan is underutilized but even she gets a moment where you’ll catch yourself laughing at the butt rhetoric.
The Interview ultimately shines a negative light on Kim Jong Un (because he was doing such a poor job of that himself). Where the film stands out is the humanization of the 31 year old dictator. Randal Park (Veep and the upcoming Fresh Off the Boat series) completely owns the role. Rogen and Franco get the headlines, but this is Park’s movie. Park is able to bring a warm welcoming nature to Park where you don’t want him to be a monster. You even sympathize with him a bit. Yeah, he’s insane but he just wants to live up to his father’s standard. He’s just an average world leader who loves basketball, margaritas, and Katy Perry. He also wants to scorch the planet. The manner in which Un is positioned as a madman isn’t fictional. That’s actually who he is. The film doesn’t forget that.
One note most people haven’t discussed is The Interview’s stance on American interventionism and the comments on what type of media is most prevalent in our culture. What gets people’s attention comes first, then the news. It’s a trashy way to handle journalism with Seth Rogen and co-writer/co-director Evan Goldberg hold no punches. All is fair in love and critique.
If you’ll be able to watch The Interview is anyone’s guess. If it is announced that you could, you very much should.