In The Interview, James Franco plays talk show host Dave Skylark who after a discussion with his producer Aaron Rapaport (Seth Rogen) about moving away from celebrity bullshit and into more meaningful news reporting, suggests they interview one of the show’s biggest fan: North Korean president Kim-Jong Un (Randall Park). They rapidly land the interview but before they travel to North Korea, Skylark and Rapaport are contacted by CIA agent Lacey (Lizzy Caplain). Their mission whether they choose or not choose to take it is to assassinate Kim-Jong Un.
Now the source of a controversy nobody saw coming, The Interview is out for all of us to see. So does it justify the controversy? Is the film really that insulting? Do we really care? In the end, those that see the film will rapidly realize that all the fuzz was for nothing. The Interview is a satirical film that would’ve been easily forgotten if it hadn’t elicit such an outrageous reaction. I wouldn’t go so far as to call it a piece of shit, but it is exceedingly dumb and uninspiring so much so that I’m sure most of us will be severely underwhelmed by it. For those, and I include myself here, that expected something like Pineapple Express you will be very disappointed by The Interview. Pineapple Express is to The Interview what the original Star Wars is to the prequel Star Wars.
The main problem with The Interview is that it isn’t a very funny film. With the people I saw the film with, I can count the times we laughed with just one hand. The rest of the time it was just silence. While the concept of the film is somewhat distinctive and ripe with potential, the delivery is so predictable and dull that it undermines the whole thing. The jokes miss most of the time, especially because the punchline of said jokes are visible from miles away. The “crazy” circumstances Seth Rogen and James Franco find themselves in don’t deliver anything special or memorable. It is like they opted to make the most obvious jokes in place of giving us substance or creativity. I also felt like the people involved were trying really hard to constantly throw you quotable lines, things that would then become part of the social lingo like some lines from other comedies. All it did was instil an aura of pretense into the whole proceeding.
There were also a lot of Lord of the Rings references/jokes in the film that, to me, fell utterly flat. They became a running gag in the film that was just odd and increasingly unfunny. Maybe the filmmakers just liked Lord of the Rings a lot, but I feel the repetitiveness of those jokes was just lazy writing. Like everything else in the film, there is this overwhelming sense of laziness running throughout. This is all the more disappointing by the fact that the team responsible for The Interview also made Pineapple Express, The Is The End and Superbad. All those comedies have a palpable creativity in their core and they actively break expectations. The Interview does the complete opposite time and time again.
That disappointment is also the result of the terrible performances throughout the film. Lizzy Caplan is giving nothing to work with in the film and as such she comes off incredibly forgettable. Seth Rogen delivers his most boring and uncharismatic performance ever. I never considered him a bad actor, but his performance is devoid of anything that will make us care even a bit about him. Rogen seems tired, like he didn’t want to be there, which I guess you could say is the result of him co-directing the film. Maybe the stress of that prevented him from doing anything interesting or different with his character. But as the co-lead of the film, Rogen does more to bring the energy down than anything else. James Franco and Randall Park are the only ones that seem to be having fun in their crazy roles. They go over-the-top a lot of the time and while it doesn’t always work, they are nevertheless responsible for the few laughs that you’ll find in the film.
In the end, The Interview is a forgettable film that unfortunately will only be remembered for the controversy it elicited. As a comedy it is entirely average and with a slew of jokes that will barely make you giggle. Besides the North Korean aspect, this film feels like it would’ve been relevant decades ago. We’ve seen better and more creative comedies, especially ones from the same team as The Interview. From the odd references to the awful and random music selection, The Interview is nothing but a lazy and uninspiring film with a slightly cool concept. A part of me feels all the reaction with the hacking and terrorist threats was made without those people actually having seen the film. If they had they would’ve known that such a shitty and lacklustre film would be forgotten the second people walked out of the theatre. As it stands they brought more attention to a film that honestly did not deserve any.