Director: Evan Goldberg, Seth Rogen
Cast: James Franco, Seth Rogan, Randall Park, Lizzy Caplan, Diana Bang, Timothy Simons, Reese Alexande
Run Time: 112 minutes
Synopsis: When a celebrity tabloid host lands an unprecedented interview with the Supreme Leader of North Korea, he and and his producer are recruited by the CIA to assassinate him.
As the cyber-hack attack on Sony Pictures played out (coincidently) in the media in the lead up to THE INTERVIEW’s Christmas Day release, and amid speculation of North Korean involvement, I recall having one recurring thought. That the ‘attack’ was either an unfortunate event fortuitously timed (for the film that is) or the most outlandishly clever marketing campaign ever orchestrated. Cause let’s face it – THE INTERVIEW is a stinker of dieg(rrh)etic proportions – destined for tanking glory had Sony’s hyperbole not bolsted it.
It’s a shame really because Seth Rogen and James Franco have an undeniable comedic chemistry that just resonates from the screen. It makes you want to hang out with them knowing, all the while, it’ll be one of the most entertaining nights out ever, tritely clichéd gag lines be damned.
If you look at THE INTERVIEW as a farcical screwball comedy rather than a political satire, the film is much more palatable. You’re expectant of the outrageous and over the top antics and fast-paced repartee of the yin yang central figures –elements you absolutely garner from Rogen and Franco’s performances.
Rogan plays Skylark Tonight producer Aaron Rapaport who, whilst out celebrating the thousandth episode of his good buddy Dave Skylark’s celebritoid show, begins to question his journalistic legitimacy after an industry colleague discredits his professional achievements as a ‘sell-out’.
In an effort to cheer Aaron up, shallow celebrity tabloid show host and good buddy Dave (Franco), manages to land himself an exclusive interview in Pyongyang with the elusive Supreme Leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Kim Jong-un (superbly performed by Randall Park), a superfan of Skylarks’ TMZesque show and of America’s superficial celebritydom.
When news of the coup comes to the attention of the American Government, they send CIA Agents Lacey (played by Lizzy Caplan) and Botwin (played by Reese Alexander) to recruit the slapstick duo and have them assassinate the North Korean leader using a slow-administering poison device.
The story gets a bit clunky mid-way particularly, the superfluous scene on the 38th parallel but thankfully, it manages to reorient itself when Skylark meets and develops a bromance with the North Korean leader during their ‘one night in Pyongyang’ celebration. Props need to go to Park who manages to humanise his brattish and scheming totalitarian character whilst skewering him.
No phallic connotation has gone unturned as THE INTERVIEW comes to its predictable end in a slow-motioned blaze of machismo glory: a manstravaganza of military hardware, bullets, missiles and take that cock thrusting.
Although most of us don’t mind a bit of bawdiness and potty humour, THE INTERVIEW’s homoerotic comedy sadly, just falls flat. The gags are predictable, lack originality and feel contrived. Sure, you may get a few laughs in but they won’t be the belly-hugging guffaws you had on Bakalakadaka Street in TEAM AMERICA: WORLD POLICE, at Franco’s house in THIS IS THE END, and with BORAT – now they’re badass crass at their very best.
They say that hype is overrated. I say (after watching THE INTERVIEW) ‘Intelligence is down. I repeat. We have lost out intelligence’.
[usr=2] THE INTERVIEW is out in cinemas now.