Production Company: Columbia Pictures, LStar Capital, Point Grey Pictures
Director: Seth Rogen/Evan Goldberg
Cast: James Franco, Seth Rogen, Randall Park, Lizzy Caplan, Diana Bang
So here it is, ‘The Interview’ is finally available for widespread viewing. Already one of the most controversial movies in recent memory, Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen’s Pyongyang baiting comedy is pretty much guaranteed to be a success now. Up until a few months ago, it seemed destined to get lost in a Christmas release schedule of Hobbits, Penguins and Bears in duffle coats. Now, thanks to all the sabre-rattling and hacking scandals, it’s the must-see film of the season, because if we’re all going to get atomised thanks to this, we’re damn well going to watch it!
The only thing that seems to have got lost in the drama is the question of how good it is. Well the good news is it’s entertaining enough to fill an evening in front of Youtube and passes the six laughs test easily. However, it’s also not nearly as insightful as it could have been. It’s not ‘Frost/Nixon’ with dick jokes and is closer in spirit to a ‘Dumb & Dumber’ sequel that happens to have Kim Jong-Un in it.
There’s nothing here that approaches the merciless, equal opportunity satire of ‘Team America’ or the climactic speech from ‘The Dictator’ for example. Instead the humour relies upon the usual tropes of unwanted rectal insertions, bickering idiots and the sight of Kim singing along to Katy Perry. Additionally, when things get serious in the final third, all hell breaks loose not because of a death camp or a human rights violation, but because of a wax grapefruit. North Korea doesn’t come off particularly well, but the full extent of the atrocities at the heart of the regime don’t get much airtime and the focus is more on scenes where Kim shits himself on live TV.
That being said, even if it doesn’t get its claws out fully ‘The Interview’ is a pretty funny film. It’s incredibly puerile yes, but as Rogen and Franco blunder their way from one cock-up to the next it’s hard not to laugh at the constant petty insults they sling at each other. There’s also a brilliant opening scene involving Eminem, a fleeting cameo from Joseph Gordon-Levitt and a finger severing punch up to keep the gags flying. They still haven’t realised that watching wild parties where idiots spray alcohol in slow motion aren’t funny, but for the most part the jokes hit home, even if they are childish.
Not a film worth getting nuked over then but it was never meant to be more than a juvenile beer and pizza comedy and if it involved a fictional tyrant, ‘The Interview’ would be little more than a blip in Hollywood history. It’s not amazing, but it’s enjoyable enough trip north of the demilitarised zone and there’s no chance of it starting a nuclear war. A few badly engineered missiles might splutter out and crash into the Sea of Japan, but that’s all.