Best. Publicity Campaign. Ever.
“The Interview” if you haven’t heard yet, is Seth Rogen and James Franco’s comedic take on what happens when a shallow American journalist decides to deepen his resume by taking an interview with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un. Of course when the American government finds out they have their own ideas that might make the trip a tad bit more interesting. Speaking of a tad bit interesting. How bout that Sony hubbub huh? Hacked servers, threats if the movie is released, theaters backing out, Sony’s cancellation and reversal, and now here it is for everyone to see both online and at theaters across the nation. But what about the actual moving picture hiding underneath it all? Is it any good? Well, nothing substantial enough for any would be supreme leaders to worry about, I don’t think.
OK I’ll admit it, I find Rogan and Franco’s doofus act quite a bit humorous in a “watching good buddies goof off” kind of way. There’s an obvious chemistry there and some of the jokes hit their marks and land well. Rogan especially is really finding his voice as a comedic actor as was evident in Neighbors earlier this year. I also think it was a great choice to make the movie about a real dictator despite whatever fall out, real or imagined, may have resulted. It keeps the movie located in a real world environment which gives it a decent shot at actually saying something interesting and valuable about world politics, power, and domination. A shot it unfortunately squanders at most every opportunity.
I know, I know, it’s a comedy, right? But the best comedy’s are full of both laughs and meaning. Good Morning Vietnam, Groundhog Day, or for goodness sakes even The Lego Movie, they all match their keen wit with a worldview and message that hits home and takes the movie to a next level. But every time that meaning threatens to creep to the surface here, Franco is there to say something so ridiculous or juvenile that it scurries back out of sight. And it’s frustrating too, because I really do think the movie has a sweet heart and competent philosophy wanting underneath the over the top vulgarity and violence. The later of which kinda caught me off guard, by the way. I mean I think we would all expect the over the top raunch from these guys, but just a heads up, they go just as far with the blood and guts this time too.
Overall, “The Interview” is a typical modern raunch com with boundary pushing humor that is occasionally worth a good laugh. Rogen is great and his chemistry with Franco is evident even if Franco’s false mugging keeps the movie from living up to the fuss it seems to has caused. I say this interview remains a bit too shallow to answer it’s final question with anything more than a C.