You can find a better comedy to spend your time on. So this is about a fluff piece television talk show host (James Franco) and his producer (Seth Rogen), getting approached by North Korea for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to interview the dictator… only catch is that the CIA has also engaged them, and they want them to seize the day and assassinate the supreme leader. The thing that everybody has been talking about with this film is the controversy. As you probably already well know, cyber-terrorists threatened to bomb random movie theaters if Sony moved forward and released The Interview, and being that 9/11 was referenced by name, theaters across the nation backed down and pulled it, at least for about a month. Everybody lost their mind, and the film got a whole lot more media attention than it would have gotten otherwise, and it’s ultimately a giant let down, because the controversy is a way more interesting subject than the actual movie.
Unless you’ve been waiting since 2010 for a movie that features no less than two dozen jokes about Katy Perry’s “Firework”. Then this is the movie for you.
Let me tell you what this movie is: it is a bunch of dated pop culture references (SO much Lord of the Rings), an unrefined collection of crass sex and body humor jokes, and, for when it inadvertently slows down, a fistful of music video montages. I don’t know what you label these things, but I call it padding. When there is so little substance featured in a story, it ends up feeling overlong and weighed down, especially when you are pushing it to the brink of a 2-hour long runtime. Now I wouldn’t even go so far to call Seth Rogen the problem here; typically, with his movies, they have a very short shelf life for me in that I will enjoy his movies when I watch them, but the longer I think about them, the less I like them (i.e. Pineapple Express, Zack and Miri Make a Porno). Franco is way more to blame, as he is playing a frustrating character that would be too dumb to stay alive for a week in the real world.
I have complicated feelings about Franco, because I think he’s an underrated actor, but an overrated comedian.
Straight and simple, this is a comedy that mostly doesn’t work. There is the occasional sucker punch joke that will surprise, but far more often this movie showcases a tendency to beat a horse to death with humor that would have been stale three years ago. I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if it is revealed five years down the line that this these cyber terrorists were just a conspiracy to get Sony to save face and get some needed press, and if you watch this again in 2020, it will already be severely outdated.
The Interview (2014) **
– Critic for Hire