The Interview Review

Posted: January 11, 2015 by moviebuff801 in moviebuff801's Movie Reviews

By: Michael “MovieBuff801” Dennos

There’s one word that can be used to adequately sum up The Interview: stupid. This is what all the fuss was about? Seriously? At the end of the day, all this is, is just fuel for the fire of all those “Stupid Americans!” jokes. As a matter of fact, that’s the one word that kept coming back in my head as I sat in the comfort of my home (thankfully not a theater) watching this movie: stupid, stupid, stupid.

The first five to ten minutes are all you’ll need to gauge whether or not this movie will be for you. If you’re one of the ones who still enjoys Seth Rogen’s long over-played and now numbing sense of humor, you’ll obviously enjoy it. If not, then move along, nothing to see or care about here.

James Franco stars as Dave Skylark, host of the entertainment talk show Skylark Tonight, which focuses mainly on celebrities and any tabloid-worthy gossip concerning them. Seth Rogen play’s Dave’s producer, Aaron Rapaport, who longs for the chance to do an actually respectable piece of journalism. Soon enough, that opportunity presents itself when Aaron is one night contacted by representatives of North Korea. Turns out, North Korea’s Supreme Leader Kim Jong-Un is an avid fan of Skylark Tonight and wishes to be interviewed by Dave himself. Dave’s announcement of said interview on his show ends up attracting the attention of the CIA, represented by Agent Lacey (Lizzy Caplan), and she recruits Dave and Aaron into a top-secret mission to assassinate Kim Jong-Un. Of course, once the two bumbling Americans make their way to North Korea, everything starts going wrong immediately. Dave and Aaron find themselves under very watchful eyes, and to complicate matters further, the level of hospitality Kim Jong-Un goes out of his way to show Dave is making the talk show host have second thoughts about his task.

Oh, where to begin? Okay, let’s start with the Dave Skylark character. In movies like these, there are two kinds of stupid. There’s the sort that’s actually charming and funny while still straddling the line of smart, then there are the Dave Skylarks of comedy movies; characters that are such complete, utter morons that their stupidity winds up being more of a distraction than anything else. It’s supposed to be funny that a man this vapid and obnoxious is tasked with a mission of great importance to the country, spouting such oh-so-clever catchphrases along the way such as, “They hate us cause they anus!” Oh my God, what a kneeslapper!

Not!

Skylark plays more like a painfully unfunny side character on a cheesy sitcom that constantly makes jokes and remarks that are supposed to make you laugh, but instead merely inspire stone-cold un-amused faces and this movie feels like a two-part episode of that sitcom which focuses more on him for whatever reason. If, halfway through, a movie with this kind of plot can get you to say, “Can’t they just kill the main character instead?” then you know the movie’s in trouble.  All that was missing was an obligatory laugh track after all of Skylark’s “hilarious” jokes and antics. Obviously, the script is trying to farce every real-life vapid entertainment talk show hosts with their equally vapid talk shows, of the E! variety, but Dave Skylark is way too cartoonishly overwritten for any of that spoofing to work, and it serves to only make it more obvious that comedy isn’t James Franco’s strongest suit.

Rogen, by comparison, is just doing his same ol’ schtick and not much else, except that he’s made the butt of quite a few of the film’s R-rated moments of physical humor, mostly delegated to the role of “just the sidekick,” and not much more. On the other hand, Randall Park is actually pretty decent as Kim Jong-Un. In fact, there may be moments here and there throughout the movie where he steals Franco’s and Rogen’s thunder entirely, which honestly wasn’t a very hard feat to begin with, but even still, Park has to deal with an overwritten character much like Dave Skylark, and much like Franco, he doesn’t emerge unscathed. Lizzy Caplan, meanwhile, is tolerable as the no-nonsense CIA agent and there are a few legitimately funny celebrity cameos in the first fifteen minutes of the film. However, if a 2-hour comedy peaks within its first fifteen minutes, then strap in for a rocky ride.

As for the story itself, if all it takes for (allegedly) North Korea to threaten violence over a movie is a barrage of jokes about dicks, peeing, pooping and other humor that feels like it was written by 12 year-olds, then they should get their priorities straight.  A real biting political satire could’ve been made from this premise in the hands of a better filmmaker, and for about two minutes, the titular interview actually gets pretty interesting, but in the hands of Seth Rogen, The Interview is a juvenile action comedy that maybe wants to Say Something…right after it finishes assaulting you with lame potty humor and jarringly gory action. Speaking of the action, the big climax at the end goes wildly off the rails in terms of the violence, almost as if Quentin Tarantino randomly popped by the set to direct those scenes. I suppose I shouldn’t be all that surprised, though, considering Rogen and co-director Evan Goldberg’s Pineapple Express, an even worse comedy, did the same thing; not to mention The Green Hornet, for which they wrote the script. The main problem there is that the expectation on Rogen and Goldberg’s part for us to laugh at a silly joke mere seconds after witnessing a brutally violent depiction of something like a character getting their fingers bitten off feels incredibly off-putting.

In other words, The Interview needed all this “controversial” publicity for people to give a damn about it.  Big surprise.  I would rather just watch the much funnier This Is The End again, and you’re better off doing that, too.

*/****

Comments
  1. CMrok93 says:

    Good review Michael. It was a funny movie that made me laugh, and that was all I really wanted it to do.

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