The Interview (2014)
Starring James Franco, Seth Rogen, Lizzy Caplan, Randall Park, and Diana Bang
Directed by Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen
***This film is currently streaming on Netflix***
Because of all the controversy surrounding the release over the Christmas holiday, nearly everyone knows the premise -- celebrity interviewer Dave Skylark (James Franco) and his producing partner Aaron Rapoport (Seth Rogen) secure an exclusive interview with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un (Randall Park). When the CIA get word of this, they recruit Dave and Aaron to assassinate the ruler which the duo initially take on with much aplomb. Stretched out over nearly two hours, this premise wears thin quickly despite attempts by Mr. Franco in particular to mine what he can comedically from the script by Mr. Rogen and co-director/screenwriter Evan Goldberg.
Rogen and Goldberg teamed up recently to direct This Is the End, a film which I liked quite a bit, but the duo who have written many other films together can't seem to get past some of the drug-related humor that always has a place in their work. Granted, The Interview certainly feels a little more mature than their past works, but maturity doesn't necessarily come hand in hand with quality. This is a one-joke premise that is at its best once Dave and Aaron set foot in North Korea and we discover the Americanized pop sensibilities of Kim Jong-un can be used for comedic effect. Granted, this also wears thin, but the relationship between Franco and Randall Park (who plays the North Korean dictator with gusto) is at least amusing and shockingly believable given the out-there premise. While Rogen doesn't stretch himself in the slightest in terms of creating a different character than we've seen from him in the past, at least he doesn't embarrass himself here having some nice scenes with Diana Bang as a North Korean army official.
Still, I didn't laugh one single time during The Interview. Yes, I may have found the performances all acceptable and the aesthetics surprisingly expensive-looking, but this is a comedy and I didn't laugh once. And therein lies the problem. For all those Sony officials to be hacked for an unfunny comedy is a shame.
The RyMickey Rating: D+