Watch my Movie Minute Review of The Interview:
Now that their movie almost caused an international incident, Seth Rogen and James Franco probably wish they had made a better one. The Interview starts off decently as a Hollywood satire, and even stays on track as the guys are trained to be 007, but it completely falls apart once the action moves to North Korea.
Franco plays Dave Skylark, a suave television host who interviews celebrities for a living, and somehow gets them to confess secrets (Eminem is gay, Rob Lowe is really bald). After 1000 episodes, he’s ready to do move away from frivolous entertainment interviews. When he discovers that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is a big fan of his show, Dave and his producer, Aaron Rapaport (Seth Rogen), reach out for an interview. It’s shockingly granted. Before they head off, they are approached by CIA Agent Lacey (a delightfully dead-pan Lizzy Caplan), who wants them to kill Kim Jong-un.
With Rogen playing the straight man for most of it, it’s up to Franco to deliver the laughs, and he does. He’s a lot of fun as the overly confident tv personality who is a doofus. It’s entertaining watching the duo try to learn from the CIA how they will off the leader, but that’s where the fun stops. Once they head to North Korea, it fails to become the interesting political satire it could have been. It’s just too tall of an order for Rogen’s frat boy comedy style to send up international relations.
Rogen’s movies work when they are low concept. Knocked Up was about getting a one stand stand pregnant, This Is The End was about the world ending but it was really about a bunch of stupid guys hanging out in a house together. This summer, the excellent Neighbours was about Seth and Rose Byrne warring with the Frat House next door. That works. Seth warring with an international dictator? No.
Once Kim Jong-un shows up (played by Veep’s Randall Park), he’s presented as a party lover who likes his guns, and his girls. So he fits right in in Rogen’s comedy world, but it’s not an interesting characterization of the mysterious figure. It’s simplistic. It just gets worse from there, and becomes unnecessary bloody, mean-spirited, and basic.
We are all obviously watching The Interview from a much different perspective than we would have before hackers threatened to blow up movie theatres, but North Korea shouldn’t be offended of this flick. It’s a disposable, elementary comedy. America should be more offended that North Koreans are now going to think this is the highest quality of comedy we are capable of.