[REVIEW] The Interview
Here’s the problem with Seth Rogen and James Franco’s The Interview: it could have been so much more than a silly romp in an evil land.
The Interview is the latest chapter in a long line of blockbusters featuring real life best buds Rogen and Franco. Rogen plays the part of an unsatisfied producer for “Skylar Tonight” - an interview show starring Franco as celebrity host Dave Skylar. The two are granted a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to interview North Korean supreme dictator Kim Jong-un. Skylar is in the business of churning out celebrity bullshit for the masses, making him an ideal mouthpiece to broadcast Jong-un’s agenda of mass propaganda.
But things get complicated when Skylar is intercepted by the CIA, who tasks him with the assassination of Jong-un. Along with his producer, and an unlikely friend within the North Korean leadership, the trio embark on a mishap-laden mission to take down Kim Jong-un, which proves to be no easy task.
The plot of The Interview is silly, ridiculous and crude. The delivery is paced by Franco and Rogen’s well-worn wit as the two buddies kid and joke their way around a political minefield. The movie pulls no punches. Racism, sexism, homophobia, and Gollum-level finger biting - it’s all on the table.
It was all supposed to be in good fun - nothing more than poop and fart humor - but by strictly pandering to the lowest common denominator, The Interview fails, both as a comedy and as a satire. The delivery is crude and racist (did you know Korean people eat dogs? Hilarious!) but the movie is rather punchless in its commentary on North Korea’s unparalleled oppressive dictatorship.
That’s what’s most frustrating. For all the political controversy that the movie stirred up (even President Barack Obama spoke out), Rogen’s script suffered stage-fright when the spotlight shone brightest on an important issue. By not making a statement, by not shedding light on anything more than what we already knew about North Korea, The Interview treats the volatile state as nothing more than a fertile comedic setting for Rogen and Franco’s shenanigans. Satires are powerful, but only if they take themselves seriously; something The Interview clearly did not.
Franco and Rogen’s shenanigans are the movie’s only saving grace. Even if they’re being silly and juvenile, their chemistry is undeniable and will coax a few genuine laughs.
But don’t expect anything more than that.