The Interview, 2014.
Directed by Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen.
Starring James Franco, Seth Rogen, Lizzy Caplan, Randall Park, Timothy Simons and Charles Rahi Chun.
Dave Skylark and producer Aaron Rapoport run the celebrity tabloid show “Skylark Tonight.” When they land an interview with a surprise fan, North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, they are recruited by the CIA to turn their trip to Pyongyang into an assassination mission.
Seth Rogen often takes a lot of unnecessary flak from both critics and the general populace for pushing out immature comedy after immature comedy, but the truth is he is doing more for the genre that nearly all of his peers. Take last year’s This Is The End; it’s a filthy and dirty gross out movie set at the turn of the apocalypse, but also starred the actors as themselves going for broke attacking each other’s careers with self-deprecating humor, all to tell a surprisingly nice story about friendship.
The follow-up to Rogen’s directorial debut (along with partner Evan Goldberg) is as you’ve no doubt heard, something incredibly gutsy that needs to be seen to be believed. If you’ve been living under a rock these past few weeks, The Interview sees James Franco and Seth Rogen playing a couple of hapless journalists tasked by the CIA with killing the leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-un; a premise that is honestly shocking it was even green-lit. They aren’t invading a fictitious country and killing a fictitious dictator; this is the real thing.
Bordering on the insane, the controversy surrounding The Interview has only strengthened the desires of audiences around the world to see what all the commotion is about, and after watching the film the number one compliment I can give is that the absurdity is delivered. For those upset that a real life world leader was used for the movie, you aren’t getting the point. Half of what makes The Interview such a treasure is that the real-life events that have occurred leading up to the release have validated every joke, low blow, and pot shot taken at what should been a satirical take on Kim Jong-un.
That doesn’t mean The Interview is a modern masterpiece chock full of social commentary, because it isn’t. The movie is quite frankly pretty stupid albeit in a hilarious way. So with that taken in mind, the fact that Kim Jong-un being depicted as a fun loving guy that loves basketball and Katy Perry, but also suffers from some deeply rooted daddy issues encouraging him to take over the world, is enough to get the movie pulled from theaters, elicit terrorist threats, and become such of a political phenomenon that Seth Rogen of all goddamn people might go down into history books as a small lesson on artistic freedom of expression rights, and potentially what start a North Korean revolution, is utterly insane. The Interview is one of the most important films ever made whether you like it or not.
But is it any funny?
Thankfully, the answer is also a resounding yes. Much credit will go to Seth Rogen for directing and having his own handful of amusing scenes, but it’s James Franco coming away with what might just be his funniest role ever. He oozes charisma in every scene, nailing joke after joke with downright hilarious delivery and ridiculous mannerisms. The clear and sheer amount of fun he having can be constantly seen, whether he is overly indulging in some Seth Rogen bromance, angrily shaking fake fruit at a billboard of Kim Jong-un, or getting his desired responses from interviews. He also comes into possession of an adorable puppy that makes for some great moments.
Also, for a movie that is largely a comedy, it should be noted that there is a surprising amount of gratuitous violence in the final act. It’s not a bad thing though, blood spraying everywhere and tanks grinding up bodies like bugs is the only logical conclusion for something this outrageous. The Interview is definitely an action comedy, but excellently layered so that the jokes lead up to one brutal punch-line.
Despite the unorthodox and ballsy narrative, The Interview isn’t so much subversives as you might expect, often sticking to the tropes of the comedy genre. This makes the movie feel slightly predictable at times, but the level of entertainment far outweighs that little negative.
I couldn’t believe what I was going to watch when I had first saw the trailer months ago, and those lofty expectations were met. The Interview is more of the Seth Rogen/ James Franco vulgar comedy we love, just with a dose of real-world political social commentary and grindhouse violence. Thankfully The Interview did see a public release, because it is one of 2014’s most entertaining movies, and by extension one of cinema’s most important.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Robert Kojder – An aficionado of film, wrestling, and gaming. He currently writes for Flickering Myth, We Got This Covered, and Wrestle Enigma. Follow me on Twitter.