FILM REVIEW – THE INTERVIEW (2014)

Just a few weeks ago, Sony stood up for free speech/free expression and announced that they would, in fact, be releasing one of the most controversial films of all time in Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen’s The Interview. For a number of reasons, we should all be thankful that they did.
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The latest Goldberg and Rogen romp finds talk show host Dave Skylark (James Franco) and his longtime producer, Aaron Rapaport (Seth Rogen), being commissioned by the United States government to assassinate North Korean Dictator Kim Jong-un (Randall Park) after discovering that he is an obsessive fan of their television show. Along the way, Aaron must keep Dave’s eccentric mind on the mission at hand while simultaneously fighting his urge to engage physically with Sook (Diana Bang), Kim’s beautiful publicist.

Continuing their funny man, straight(ish) man routine, Rogen and Franco are as hilarious as ever, but don’t really break any new ground with The Interview. It follows the same basic “best friends have a falling out and then become best friends again after being forced to work together” buddy-movie blueprint that Goldberg and Rogen have been doing for years … but it still more-or-less works. It worked with Pineapple Express, it worked with This Is the End, and it works with The Interview.

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James Franco & Seth Rogen in The Interview

Fans of stoner comedies and irreverent humor will feel right at home here. There are plenty of dick and fart jokes, but some more unique gags throughout as well, mostly due to Franco’s infectious weirdness and Rogen’s unusual onscreen chemistry with the undeniably adorable Diana Bang, who proves to be a comedic actress to keep an eye on. Kim Jong-un is such a painfully serious individual that any satirical take on the North Korean Dictator is sure to be amusing in itself, but Randall Park really finds a way to make the character surprising empathetic while still maintaining Kim’s ruthless mindset.

Featuring humorous cameos from everyone from Bill Maher and Joseph Gordon-Levitt to Eminem and Anders Holm, The Interview is exactly the kind of film that it wants to be, and if you’re a fan of this brand of humor, then you’re going to guffaw your ass off. Otherwise, you’ll probably just think it’s pretty stupid like the rest of its stoner/buddy brethren.

THE BOTTOM LINE:
The Interview is just your typical irreverent stoner comedy buddy movie. No more, no less. Fans of this type of thing will love it, others (especially critics) really won’t, and in a month or so, hardly anyone will even care. Go check it out and see for yourself, as it’s currently showing in select theaters (the ones that aren’t cowardly) and on VOD… or just wait for it to show up in the $5 DVD bins and Netflix Instant Queue in a few months. Again, it’s great for what it is, but once you take away that big “controversial” tag… that’s really ALL that it is. (6.5/10)

-Blair Hoyle
Nerd Nation Magazine & CinemaSlasher.com

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