Thursday, December 25, 2014

Movie Review: The Interview

Have you guys heard about this movie? It's called "The Interview" and stars James Franco as a tabloid-style news personality and Seth Rogen is his producer. Nothing too scandalous, right? Oh yeah, the plot of the movie is that they get an interview with North Korean Dictator Kim Jong Un and are recruited by the CIA to kill him.

North Korea was not happy. Some mysterious threats that alluded to bombing any theater showing the movie were made. People believed those threats were from North Korea. Several movie theater chains pulled out of showing the film, which was to open Christmas Day. Sony, the film's distributor, then decided to cancel the release.

It was a super big deal for a couple days. The general consensus seems to now be that North Korea was not behind the terrorist threats. Sony can't just be like "Oops, let's just pretend like this didn't happen," so it's no longer in theaters. But, they did decide to distribute it digitally, via YouTube, PlayStation, and other video streaming media.

I paid $5.99 to rent "The Interview" on YouTube. For less than six dollars, I can watch it for 30 days. Watching it once was enough, honestly.

James Franco plays Dave Skylark, a tabloid journalist. Seth Rogen is his producer, Aaron Rapaport. Skylark hosts a celebrity interview show, which features some funny cameos during the film: Eminem reveals he's gay, Rob Lowe pulls his wig off to show he's been bald since the 80's, and Joseph Gordon Levitt is randomly in a playpen full of puppies.

Skylark and Rapaport are polar opposites when it comes to journalism. Rapaport wants to do more. It comes to a head during one heated argument.

Rapaport: "I wanted to cover serious news, not Nikki Minaj's fucking vagina flopping out at the fucking Grammy's."

Skylark: "You don't like that brown sugar?"

It comes out that Kim Jong Un is a fan of the interview show. Through a series of hilarious(?) twists and turns, they land the interview. The only conditions are that they have to travel to North Korea and Jong Un will provide his own questions. Rapaport is not sure about the ethical side of this deal.

Skylark: "When you score a Hitler or a bin Laden or an Un, you grab it by the balls. It's the first rule of journalism; give the people what they want."

Rapaport: "That's not the first rule of journalism. I think that's the first rule of circuses and demolition derbies."

There are plenty of dumb jokes throughout this film. When they first meet the CIA lady after a night of debauchery, they are hung over and can't stop staring at her cleavage as she explains that she wants them to "take out" Un. Take him out on the town? Take him out to lunch? They eventually get with the program. And hilarity(?) ensues.

Both Skylark and Kim Jong Un are misunderstood by the world, and as such they form a bond and friendship. They both love the same music and drinks.

Un: "Do you think margaritas are gay?"

Skylark: "Did somebody tell you that? If liking Katy Perry and drinking margaritas is gay, then who wants to be straight?"

Un: "Not me."

We then go to a montage of Skylark and Un listening to "Firework" and blowing stuff up in a tank, then playing basketball, then partying with North Korean prostitutes. It's just as over-the-top and funny as it sounds. One of the highlights of the film.

A rift forms between Skylark and Rapaport, as Skylark begins to have second thoughts. The truest lines of the film come next:

Skylark: "Kim is not evil. He was just born into a bad situation."

Rapaport: "You are fucking stupid and fucking ignorant."

And here's where James Franco gets a pass to play in dumb comedies; he is an amazing actor who can do anything. There is a poignant moment in "The Interview" where Skylark realizes that Un really is evil. It's played as pure drama and really shows the range of Franco. He makes it work, then he takes it over the top for comedy's sake. It works.

The climax of the film features gun fire, explosions, fingers getting chewed off, more explosions, a puppy, and Katy Perry's "Firework." Does Un die? You'll have to find out for yourself.

Overall, is "The Interview" a good movie? It's a dumb comedy with a loose basis on current events. Seth Rogen is almost a brand to himself. If you like his sub-genre of movies, you'll really like it. If you're not a fan of profanity, crude humor, sexism, and all that other bad stuff, then this might not be your cup of tea.

Is "The Interview" worthy of all of the media hype surrounding it? No. Don't go in expecting something *amazing* because you're going to be let down. It's a dirty comedy about assassinating Kim Jong Un. That's it. But it's fun. And stupid. At the same time.

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