The Interview (2014)

The-Interview---James-Franco,-Seth-Rogen,-posterDirector: Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg

Writer: Dan Sterling

Cast: James Franco, Seth Rogen, Randall Park, Lizzy Caplan, Diana Bang

Cert: 15

Running time: 112mins

Year: 2014

 

The lowdown: So, The Interview… Aka the most dangerous film of all-time or the movie with history’s best marketing campaign. The bottom line is, it is exactly what you’d expect from the This Is The End team – dumb, offensive, funny, scrappy and likeable. But it’s probably the spectacle of Kim Jong-un blubbing over Katy Perry as much comments about famine and concentration camps that got North Korea aiming its cyber-sights on Sony’s servers.

The-Interview---James-Franco,-Randall-Park,-laughingThe-Interview---James-Franco,-Seth-Rogen

The full verdict: Who’d have thought a 21st century reboot of Spies Like Us would cause so much bother? Particularly after Team America came and went with mere minor grumbles.

But, these are different times and maybe The Interview is on the money when it suggests Kim Jong-un fumes with inferiority in his dad’s shadow. Heck, feasibly he does like Katy Perry.

Or perhaps it was just putting the Supreme Leader on screen at all, let alone depicting him as the world’s biggest dick, that made the tragic country think it was Korea-suicide for all involved.

Whatever the reason, The Interview was never going to match the hype and hacking. The Daily Show or Last Week Tonight with John Oliver could do something cleverer and more satirically barbed in 12 minutes of TV time than what co-directors Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg mange here. Despite scriptwriter Dan Sterling actually having been an exec-producer on The Daily Show.

The-Interview---James-Franco,-Randall-Park,-Diana-BangThe-Interview---James-Franco,-Randall-Park

Maybe though they’ve invented something new – “scatire”. For one critique about exaggerated reports on potato yields, there will be three yuks about “sharting”, “stink dick”, anal violation and Eminem outing himself. The Kim dictators themselves do make bold claims about never needing the toilet…

And as North Korea is based on a cult of celebrity, a pop-culture stuffed tale as gossamer as Joey Essex’s biography Being Reem may have method in its madness.

Franco and Rogen deliver their This Is The End turns, Franco’s featherweight interview Dave Skylark a numbskull narcissist, Rogen reliable and loveable as his producer. Which make for chuckles when Skylark compares their journey to The Lord of the Rings or talks about the tyranny of a “Bin Laden, or a Hitler, or an Un”.

Top acting honours go to Randall Park as the crackpot dictator, switching from lachrymose to lethal in the blink of a misplaced utterance.

A CIA assassination plan subplot provides a boost whenever story energy levels flag and provides the underrated Lizzy Caplan much deserved big-screen time. And the filmmakers do pull off a climax that is not totally predictable, while allowing for a tank vs. helicopter set-piece that could be an homage to Rambo III.

Even if they don’t agree with this, they would double up reading “pull off a climax”. Which wraps up The Interview perfectly.

Rob Daniel

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