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"The Interview" Review

We had an international incident over this? Really? Such silly times we live in.

Unless you're more detached from reality than the average bear, you've heard about the massive leak of emails from Sony Pictures in which trash talking emails, personal information, unreleased movies, etc. have been flowing onto the Internet. The alleged cause for all these antics is North Korean hackers enraged over The Interview, the latest bromedy from Seth Rogen and James Franco which is about a plot to assassinate North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. Apparently it's rude to make light of killing real-world foreign leaders or something. (If you're thinking about that fake documentary and other works fantasizing about the assassination of George W. Bush during his time in office not getting any backlash, join the club.)

As the movie was pulled from release, then partially put into theaters, then streamed online to allow everyone a crack at pirating it, it was sometimes touted as one's patriotic duty to see this movie, because screw terrorism. Or something. Again, silly times. Of course, the usual suspects made the usual noises about how terrible it was because of the patriotic marketing angle - leave it to the liberal media to hop onto anything they can to stroke their oikophobia - but all the surrounding noise just elevated/denigrated the movie itself and whatever merits it had.

Franco is Dave Skylark, the host of Skylark Tonight, a frothy chat show peddling celebrity news like Rob Lowe being bald (another great self-deprecating cameo in line with his DirecTV adverts) and Eminem admitting he's gay, the best bit in the movie. (Pay attention to the Chyron's with things like, "CLEANING OUT HIS CLOSET; FINDING HIMSELF?") After his producer (Rogen) runs into an old college classmate who's a producer for 60 Minutes and disses their trivial production, Rogen seeks and finds an opportunity. It seems Kim (Randall Park) is a fan of Skylark's, so he reaches out to get an interview with the reclusive dictator which is accepted.

With a trip to North Korea booked, CIA operative Lizzy Caplan approaches them asking that they "take out" Kim because they'll have a rare opportunity to knock him off. They're not to psyched on the idea - particularly the part about how they'd escape a country whose leader they'd just murdered - but agree to take on the task. Of course everything goes wrong because they're basically gringo Cheech & Chong and not particularly brilliant. Complicating matters is that Skylark is taken in by the facade of happy, well-fed people in front of well-stocked stores and a day spent bro-ing out with Kim makes him believe that killing him would be a mistake because he's just a nice guy with bad PR problems.

Because of all the geo-political tensions surrounding the release, The Interview has been scrutinized waaaaaaaaaaaaay more than it merits. At its core, it's another collaboration with Evan Goldberg with whom Rogen co-directed This Is The End (they also wrote Superbad, Pineapple Express, The Watch and The Green Hornet) and how you like those movies is a good indicator of how you'll appreciate (or not) The Interview. It is lowbrow dudebro humor with plenty of gay jokes, drug humor, slapsticky ultra-violence - you know, all the things you look for in a Jane Austen adaptation. (Wait, what?)

One of the tidbits from the leaked Sony emails were complaints about Franco's performance and it shows that some Hollyweird studio weasels may have a clue because he's pretty awful. However, it's almost funnier because it's bad, but maybe I was just feeling charitable for the holidays. He's pretty bad. Rogen is Rogen; nuff said. Randall Park's Kim is interesting and Diana Bang (not a porn actress!) as the North Korean minder is amusing.

As I write this review a few weeks later, it's hard to remember what the big deal was about The Interview. It's just a dumb movie that caught some unneeded heat.

Score: 6/10. Catch it on cable.


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