After weeks of controversy and leaks at Sony Pictures, we are finally able to feast our eyes on a film pertaining what can only be described as “the weirdest moment in Hollywood history”. Struggling with their Spider-Man franchise, receiving threats from North Korea and having their personal emails leak on the internet, it isn’t hard to assume that this hasn’t been a golden year for Sony. It has been said that this could just be a huge marketing stunt to bring in the big bucks, but I doubt screening the film in limited release is anywhere near ideal for Sony’s bank account. That being said it could still make a massive killing on VOD, already topping the charts on Google Play and Youtube Movies as people use the film as a way of celebrating Hollywood’s victory against censorship. Nevertheless it feels almost unreal that a Seth Rogan and Evan Goldberg film could even be considered a credible attack on a country despite their past projects. A comment I saw online described the situation as “like a South Park episode”, which perfectly sums up the whole debacle. Now that we can all watch it, we can get past the controversy and enjoy the film for what it is, a gross out comedy starring our favorite Hollywood Bromance brought to us by our favorite comedy screenwriting duo.
The film is ultimately about David Skylark (James Franco) and his show producer Aaron Rapoport and their desire to report on real news. Being a big fan of Skylark’s show, Kim Jong Un, supreme leader of DPR Korea accepts an interview to be taken place in his country. Of course in his own terms. The CIA soon see this as an opportunity to finally take Kim Jong Un out.
The brilliance of Seth Rogan and James Franco is that their chemistry alone can carry a film, and it’s pretty apparent here. The Interview, despite it’s unique blend of real life and preposterous fiction, never really sucks you into the story. I was happy whenever the two leads were together in frame, but the moments which would veer off into the political/spy stuff was harder to care about. Even if the criticisms of North Korea are pretty much on point, I think finding that balance of seriousness and comedy needed more revision from Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg. Effectively making their points about North Korea hard to take seriously. At times it felt like there were opportunities to be compelling but it never really amounts to anything more than a few lines of dialogue. This was more apparent during the third act of the film where it started to feel a bit preachy. With such a wacky character in James Franco and a crazy plot, it would have paid off more to have kept in that vein until the very end and attempted to be more satirical. Luckily only a small part of the film is burdened with this problem, and for most of it I was laughing my ass off.
Most of the jokes stem from the actors personalities and their style of comedy. The first act alone is brimming with James Franco wackiness and Seth Rogen mannerisms, which is what makes the film so enjoyable. Despite it being entertaining and the reason I love these guys, there are moments in this film which are far from original. How many times have we seen a guy conceal an object in their butts by pure necessity, I’ll always find it amusing because that’s the kind of person I am, but there’s no denying it’s overdone in comedy films. Nevertheless a lot of the jokes work, as we would expect from the Rogen-Goldberg combination.
Without the controversy, I’m sure this film wouldn’t have attracted as much buzz as This Is The End or Neighbors. Which is why it will be interesting to see how much it makes on VOD. The Interview is ultimately what we expected from the start. It has a lot of laughs, a lot of bromance and surprisingly a lot of slapstick violence. It’s not as memorable as some of the other comedies we’ve had this year, but it’s definitely not a “mundane” Adam Sandler film as Sony would put it.