Like countless others, I was coming off of a Seth Rogan high. He exposed everyone’s fears of living next to a raucous fraternity house in Neighbors and had audiences questioning if Michael Cera truly is a coke-addicted jerk in This is the End. Needless to say, when I saw previews of The Interview I was totally on board. Plus, this movie stars James Franco (my friends can attest to my unnatural love for James Franco).
A second reason sparked my interest in this film. Unless you lived under a rock last December, you heard, saw, and/or read about North Korea’s controversy with The Interview. North Korea’s dictator, Kim Jung-un, demanded the U.S. ban the film from theaters otherwise they would consider it’s release as an act of war and act accordingly. It even prompted a response from President Barack Obama after the Sony hacks. Being the patriotic Americans that we are, citizens of the U.S. waved their American flags, fired a round from their guns, and told Kim Jung-un to suck it, metaphorically speaking. No North Korean dictator could keep the masses from experiencing this film. Was America really ever in danger or was this an elaborate publicity stunt? We may never know, but, if it was, then it was mighty successful.
As for the content of the film, it left much to be desired. I’ve seen the setup numerous times before. This is the typical buddy comedy. Franco is the hyper host of an E! News-like television show and Rogan is his underwhelmed producer. When the unbelievable opportunity to interview North Korea’s controversial leader manifests itself, it’s the perfect chance for Rogan to be treated as a professional and for the United States to assassinate Kim Jung-un. It’s a win-win. However, all of the honey-potting muddle the situation for our leads.
This film is trying very hard to be funny, yet the jokes fail to land a laugh for me. Yes, I did laugh as certain points throughout the film, for example Rob Lowe and Eminem’s interviews, Rogan’s interactions with Kim’s female “propaganda minister,” and Franco’s bro-ments with Kim. If The Interview could have successfully satirized the North Korea situation or relied less on high-school minded jokes, then it might have been the top comedy of the year. Alas, this was just another flop for Rogan. Here’s hoping that his next movie is an uproarious hit.
Three out of five stars.
For more movie reviews, ratings, and lists, you can tune in to 91.9 KSDB Sundays at 5 for the Movie Madhouse or visit Kari’s letterboxd page at http://letterboxd.com/karibingham.
By: Kari Bingham-Gutierrez