Starring: James Franco, Seth Rogen, Randall Park, Lizzy Caplan, Diana Bang
Directed By: Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen
You might have heard about this little film called The Interview. It’s gotten a metric ton of free press in the past few weeks. Now, you can watch The Interview in select brave theatres, and also via a few streaming services. I have to say, I thought the movie was going to suck. The trailer for this wasn’t great, and Christmas didn’t seem like the best time to release a film about assassinating a world leader. I was proven wrong.
The Interview is hilarious. I found myself sitting alone in my living room laughing hysterically, which is an even better gauge because you don’t have the surrounding audience to pressure you into thinking something is funny when it’s not. It actually got me, and no one had to tell me to laugh. James Franco is fucking brilliant as one of the dumbest characters he’s ever played. I’ve read reviews that say he looks like he’s laughing through the whole film, and I say that only adds to his character. His character is a goofy idiot. He’s written well, and he does a great job with blank stares and goofy grins that convince you that absolutely nothing is going on upstairs. I honestly believe it is one of the best performances of the year. Truly.
Another performance worth talking about is Randall Park as Kim Jong Un. The fact that he had the balls to play a sitting dictator in a film is worth praising, but his interpretation of Un is what holds the film together. Un is a perfect balance of playfully silly and dangerously evil. In comparison to these two “balls to the wall” characters, Seth Rogen just seems rather bland. It’s unusual for Rogen, but he’s stuck playing the straight man here. Someone has to be the brains, and Rogen gets to be the brains of the operation.
I can understand why Kim Jong Un would hate this movie. It definitely makes fun of him, even if the film isn’t 100% about assassinating him. Franco’s Dave Skylark waffles so many times, and Park’s Un has such a strong man crush that this film could have easily done a 180 and become an odd couple film about the weirdest gay couple in the history of the world. That version of the film is probably also awesome.
I’ve read reviews complaining about sophomoric jokes, like sticking something up your butt, and I just say… what did you expect from the guys who brought you Neighbors and This Is The End? If you expected true satire, you were just way off base from the beginning. This is broad, crude humor done well. this is demeaning satire, if satire at all.
The Interview is now available to watch, and I suggest you do so. At this point, it’s practically your American duty to do so.
FINAL GRADE: A