I’ll do us both a favor and start this review off by assuming that you know all about The Interview‘s hacking scandal. I’ll also add that I’m glad Sony ultimately decided to release the film (albeit in a unique way) and that it’s kind of exciting to (legally) be able to watch a film this big from my house day and date with its theatrical release.
Now, with that out of the way, I’ll cut to the chase: This is not a good movie.
I had heard that test audiences hadn’t been kind to it, but I enjoyed Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg’s first effort at directing, This is the End, and in general, I like Rogen and James Franco as actors, so I figured I’d still give it a shot.
The plot, such as it is, revolves around Franco as a talk show host who craves celebrity gossip and big, juicy scoops. So, when he and his producer, played by Rogen, unexpectedly find themselves in a position to interview Kim Jong-un (who is a big fan of their show), he jumps at the idea. The CIA, however, decides to use the opportunity to assassinate the North Korean leader. Hi-jinks ensue.
One of the problems I have with The Interview is that it relies on too many strange, awkward setups for jokes that never really pay off later on. Does “honey potting” really need to be a recurring gag? Or how about hearing a Katy Perry song over and over again only to have it be used in a more literal way during the film’s climax? Is that funny or is it just lazy writing? It’s as if they’re saying, “Hey, remember when we said that thing earlier? Well, we’re referencing it now! Aren’t we clever?”
Still, as bad as the paper-thin plot is, it’s not even the worst thing about this movie; that would be Mr. Franco. He’s so over-the-top and ridiculous that you can’t believe this is someone who has been nominated for an Oscar. Every note he hits is false and he really tested my patience with his obnoxious behavior. I’m not sure if that’s due to the way his character was written or if it’s just him improvising, but whatever it is, it’s absolutely terrible. Ironically, Randall Park as Kim Jong-un made me laugh the most. Read into that what you will.
I know many of you will probably see this movie simply because of the controversy surrounding it, but you’ll most likely walk away disappointed. If you want a better example of the kind of film this one wants to be, or if you are trying to be patriotic or something, then rewatch Team America: World Police. The puppets give much better performances.