Usually I write about movies that I’ve particularly enjoyed. And usually I do it in my native language. But I just had to jump on the bandwagon of the still scolding hot release of “The Interview” and write an honest opinion. Because I can do anything. Maybe that was why I decided to write it in the unpatriotic language of English. I bet you my Christmas presents that almost everybody knows about this comedy and the controversy surrounding it, but just in case, I’ll fill you in.
“The Interview” is a so-called “satirical” political comedy directed and created by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, with the screenplay being written by Dan Sterling. Yes, these are the same guys who brought to you “This is the End”. Another lad stemming from the same gang is James Franco, who takes the role of our co-protagonist, sharing the spotlight with the previously mentioned Rogen.
The premise is quite simple. Dave Skylark (Franco) and his producer Aaron Rapoport (Rogen), who both work on a celebrity gossip and interview show “Skylark Tonight”, manage to get an interview with one of the most talked about leaders in the world, North Korea’s Kim Jong-un. Soon before their flight the CIA catches up with our journalists and instructs them to “take out” the Supreme Leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. Agreeing to take part in this hostile mission, Skylark and Rapoport arrives at Pyongyang, the nation’s capital, and try to complete their task, of course not avoiding mishaps and other jaw-droppingly ridiculous situations.
After suffering from one of the biggest hacker attacks and information leaks seen in quite a while, “Sony” was more than skeptical about releasing “The Interview”. And the threats made by “The Guardians of Peace”, of attacking movie theaters across the U.S., who would premiere the film on December 25th didn’t make this decision any easier. Cinema chain after cinema chain dropped out of the deal, cancelled premieres as our main stars Franco and Rogen announced that no scheduled press conferences will take place. It seemed like the movie was almost a lost cause. But the big heads of “Sony Entertainment” decided to move along with the scheduled Christmas day release, but in digital format. The movie can be rented or bought on “Youtube”, “Google Play” and also limited, independent theater screenings are currently taking place. Soon after, the movie leaked to torrent websites as well. But the question still lingers in the air like a bad pun – “Is the movie worth it?”.
I can confidently say… No. Today I watched the entire thing and now I think that both Franco and Rogen are annoyingly lucky schmucks. The movie is less than mediocre. It just appeared at the right time and the right place. “The Interview” succumbs to the very popular genre of knock-you-on-the-head-with-a-freakin’-shovel comedy, where most of the jokes circle around human anatomy, bodily fluids and accidents resulting in physical handicaps or death. I don’t know if the humor in me died after watching “Bruno” or I never had it in the first place, but this type of comedy, if you could even call it that, had never made me even giggle. It just makes me want to sob in a corner. But hey, maybe I’m just too mean spirited to understand.
The acting doesn’t help this movie either. Seth Rogen is playing the same character he was playing since his breakthrough in cinema. An exaggerated version of Seth Rogen. At one point during the film just for a second you do start to see a glimpse of brain work, when Rogen’s character questions about the current state of the media and that maybe he should change his career path. But after that he pops in some “Ecstasy” and everything in the movie is back to normal. Franco’s larger than life and also insultingly dumb Dave Skylark seemed like a parody of Taran Killam from “Saturday Night Live” doing a parody of Bravo’s Andy Cohen. And this is the moment where I can say something nice about this movie. “Skylark Tonight” with such guests as Eminem, who “revealed” that he is homosexual or Rob Lowe acting out the revelation of his embarrassing baldness reminded us of something we see every single day. The creators tried to shed light on the current state of media, where the lines between news and entertainment are non-existent. If it doesn’t have shock value – it’s not news. But, I’ll repeat myself, they TRIED. Nobody said that they succeeded to achieve that goal.
Not all acting in the movie was making me cringe. Both Randall Park and Diana Bang, playing Kim Jong-un and his assistant Sook respectively, managed to put out plausible performances with the given quite horrendous source material. The under-developed character of the Supreme Leader seemed like a combination of cliches and stereotypes that the Western society has about North Korea. The movie also played on gender stereotypes, making fun of a male enjoying songs by Katy Perry and drinking Margaritas. Everything seemed rushed, characters were either under-developed or just plain useless. Lizzy Caplan, who played CIA agent Lacey was most definitely used for her looks, because she had around less than 10 minutes of screen time and very little dialogue. This movie wanted to be a social commentary about dictatorship and the fall of modern media. Yet, all we got was “butthole” jokes and a CGI explosion burning up the leader of North Korea.
Seth Rogen, James Franco and the rest of the crew can thank their lucky stars for this hacking scandal. If the circumstances would have been any different nobody would have even noticed this project. But now, thanks to all of this fuss, everybody and their grandmother will download the movie, just to see what was all this hubbub about. And now, “The Interview” will be cemented the history of cinema as the film that almost started a war over a few cheap gags. You couldn’t even imagine better marketing results. I suggest a movie about the international relations between USA and Russia next. With extra shart jokes this time.