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The Interview - Cinemaholic Movie Reviews
one person's obsessive addiction to film
The Interview
Directing: C+
Acting: C+
Writing: C-
Cinematography: B
Editing: B

The Interview is arguably the most fascinating film of 2014 by virtue of its cultural context. What other movie has ever precipitated international cyber provocations, let alone depicted the death of a currently sitting head of state? Would that the movie had actually been good. Taken on its own merits, this movie is hardly worth anyone's time.

Seth Rogen and James Franco should be thanking North Korea, really. And even the nitwits over at Sony, who first overreacted by pulling the release date and then turned around and released the movie anyway, both in theaters and on demand. Nothing else could have drummed up the same interest, particularly for the many stoners who downloaded the movie. One can only assume it's a hell of a lot funnier if you're stoned.

I saw this movie sober, unfortunately. I'm almost embarrassed to admit I did laugh several times, but much of the rest of the time I just felt embarrassed. Particularly for James Franco. As Dave Skylark, the ridiculously shallow entertainment talk show host, Franco overdoes it in a way he never has in any other role. It's like he's hell bent on proving he can act badly, with his excessively effusive delivery of nearly every line.

Seth Rogen does a much better job as the straight-man producer of the show, who is eager to prove he can be a real journalist. Evidently Rogen isn't eager to prove he's a real filmmaker. To be fair, the concept of this film on its own supersedes any such pretense, and that's fine; the actors here -- even Randall Park as Kim Jong-un, the interview subject of the film's title -- are clearly having a good time. They're just a lot more concerned with having fun on set than they are with us having fun watching them.

A surprising lot of the humor, in this script by TV writer and producer Dan Sterling, falls flat. Every once in a while there's oddly racist gags: imitations of an Asian accent; a throwaway line about eating dogs. What moldy box of stale remnants did he get these out of? And did President Obama have any idea he was publicly defending a movie in which Kim Jong-un utters the line, "I have a butt hole, and it's working overtime!"

The Interview is undeniably a fascinating mid-2010s global cultural touchstone, a topic of intellectual debate that is itself a bastion of grossly overdone juvenile humor. The greatest disappointment is that this movie actually could have been good. Someone could have made this movie work. Seth Rogen simply didn't find that person.

The story here doesn't even really have anything to say -- it just takes a real-life dictatorial lightning rod to make a dumb movie. Dave Skylark and his producer/best friend Aaron Rapaport (Rogen) are tapped by the CIA (embodied uber-ridiculously by Lizzy Caplan) to assassinate Kim Jong-un at the interview. Zany hijinks ensue -- with an odd bit of graphic violence thrown in.

One might be tempted to call this movie a guilty pleasure, if only there were an actual through line of pleasure. Instead, there are very sporadic laughs at best, many of them not even well earned, spaced apart by lulls in the narrative when it loses steam, then barely picks up again. To say that this movie is uneven would be a grand understatement. To say that it is patently dumb would be fair.

Diana Bang, Seth Rogen and James Franco have fun making a crap movie called THE INTERVIEW.

Overall: C
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