The dust has settled on the controversy surrounding Seth Rogen’s The Interview and it is now time to judge the film on its own merits.
Dave Skylark (James Franco) is a famous TV presenter with an eponymous talk show who can get all sorts of celebrities to reveal extremely personal things about their lives. It was him who got the scoop about Eminem’s homosexuality, for example. Skylark is looking for his next challenge away from sensationalism and wants to broaden his horizons by interviewing politicians.
His best friend and producer Aaron Rapaport (Rogen), gets a call saying Kim Jong Un would love to do an interview with Skylark. Just the break he was looking for.
Rogen tries his best to manufacture gags out of the macabre situation of trying to assassinate a world leader. Most of them fall flat. When you try and make a joke out of someone dying of Ricin poisoning it’s an uphill struggle.
The film starts to redeem itself when Kim Jong Un appears for the first time and tries to befriend Skylark. It’s quite a touching friendship between the two and the day they spend together is the highlight. The usage of Katie Perry’s Fireworks as another common interest between the two is just about on the right side of cheesy, in a slightly awkward but goofy way. Rogen’s love interest also adds heart to proceedings.
Rogen and Franco have a good chemistry together but it all too often descends into dick jokes involving cock-blocking and honey-dicking.
Any good intentions are wiped away in the third act. Political satire is all well and good but to even attempt to kill the replicant of a living, breathing world leader on film amounts to propaganda and undermines any validity. They have tried to twist it in a way to make it seem justified but this kind of film doesn’t help world relations.
It’s easy to argue that anyone against this film is anti-freedom of speech but with that freedom comes great responsibility. Yes, just like Spider-Man. You don’t start talking about your genital warts at a funeral, do you? Oh, you do? please Google “local psychiatric help” and call the number it reveals.
On the film’s merits alone, one must wonder what all the fuss was about. There’s nothing ground-breaking for such a controversial subject. The closest it gets to profundity is that your best friend might be nice to you but he might also be a tyrant to others. Good luck finding any other meaningful themes amidst the sub-standard slapstick and nether-regional attempts at comedy.