Movie Review: The Interview

Dave Skylark (James Franco) and producer Aaron Rapoport (Seth Rogen) run the celebrity tabloid show “Skylark Tonight.” When they land an interview with a surprise fan, North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un (Randall Park), they are recruited by the CIA to turn their trip to Pyongyang into an assassination mission.(IMDb)

First thing that came to mind after seeing that trailer was…”yikes… so… this is a thing that is happening”. I’ll admit that I wasn’t really interested in seeing this film….but then….The Interview turned into a controversy!  After days of internet buzz and countless people pontificating about free speech and the American-way, I finally sat down (at my computer) and watched The Interview – it’s exactly what I expected.

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The Interview is pretty dumb. It’s not smart enough to be a political satire, it doesn’t have a lot to say, and it’s mostly an onslaught of poop jokes. The most hilarious thing about the movie is that it HAS incited an international crisis of sorts.  Who would’ve thought that a movie from the Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg and James Franco, famous for stoner jokes and bromance, would lead to a hacking scandal and threats of terrorism against the United States?

The Interview has legitimate laugh-out-loud moments, mostly when Franco and Rogen are allowed time to riff with each other.  Their status as BFFFs is still going strong, and they play really well off each other – with Franco playing the idiotic over-the-top TV presenter Dave Skylark and Rogen taking on the role of the more straight-laced producer Aaron Rappaport.  Both of these buffoons are in way over their heads, and that’s what makes most of this insane plan work.

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Lizzie Caplan has little screen time and little to do as the CIA agent who charged two idiots with the mission. Diana Bang, who plays Sook, North Korea’s chief propaganda officer, probably had the most fun with her insane character who is equal parts militaristic and crazy.

Skylark’s stupidity is evenly matched with the insanity of Randall Park’s portrayal of Kim Jong-un.  Park plays Jong-un with a great deal of giddy and ridiculous fun – he turns from over-excited fan-boy to raging dictator at the drop of a hat.  Skylark and Jong-un’s budding friendship is formed over a bunch of scenes of the two playing basketball in slow motion, blowing stuff up with a tank, “daddy issues”, and a mutual love of Katy Perry. The sequence was a little long, but hilarious. From there, the plot is all over the place – as are the jokes.

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The comedy is really hit-or-miss in this one. They’re throwing everything at the wall here, complete with unfunny and mildly offensive accents, inside jokes, and gross-out bloody violence.  It’s a stupid movie, with a few laughs for sure, but compared to other comedies from this crew, the movie falls a little flat – perhaps under the weight of the hype.  That’s what all the fuss was about?!

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