The Interview

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Dave Skylark, host of the talk show Skylark Tonight, interviews celebrities about personal topics and gossip. After Dave and his crew celebrate their 1,000th episode, they discover that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is a fan of Skylark Tonight, prompting the show’s producer Aaron Rapoport to arrange an interview. Aaron travels to rural China to receive instructions from Sook Yung Park, a North Korean propagandist, and Dave accepts the task of interviewing Kim.

CIA Agent Lacey proposes that Dave and Aaron assassinate Kim using a transdermal strip that will expose Kim to Ricin via handshake, facilitating a coup d’état; they reluctantly agree. Upon their arrival in North Korea, one of Kim’s bodyguards discovers the Ricin strip and chews it, believing it to be gum. Lacey airdrops two more strips from an UAV and Aaron smuggles them into the palace.

Dave spends the day with Kim, playing basketball and partying. Kim persuades Dave that he is misunderstood, and they become friends. While driving a tank, Dave discovers that Kim loves the song “Firework” by Katy Perry. At dinner, the bodyguard exposed to Ricin has a seizure and inadvertently kills Kim’s other bodyguard before dying. The next morning, Dave feels guilty and discards one of the Ricin strips, then thwarts Aaron’s attempt to poison Kim with the second strip. After a dinner mourning the death of Kim’s bodyguard, Dave discovers Kim’s malicious character and that the nearby grocery store is merely a façade.

Aaron and Sook confess their attraction to each other; Sook reveals that she despises Kim and apologizes for defending the regime. Dave, Aaron, and Sook form a plan to break Kim’s cult of personality by causing him to cry on air. During the internationally televised interview with Kim, Dave addresses increasingly sensitive topics and challenges Kim’s need for his father’s approval. Kim retaliates and appears to have overturned the conversation, but when Dave sings “Firework”, Kim cries uncontrollably and soils himself, ruining his reputation. Sook and Aaron seize control of the broadcasting center and fend off guards trying to halt the broadcast.

Kim shoots Dave, who survives due to a bulletproof vest under his shirt. Dave, Aaron, and Sook regroup and escape the presidential palace, hijacking Kim’s tank in order to get to their pickup point. Kim boards a helicopter and pursues Dave, Aaron, and Sook with the military. He orders that North Korea’s nuclear missiles are prepared for launch, but before he can issue the command, Dave destroys the helicopter from the tank, killing Kim. Sook guides Dave and Aaron to an escape route, and they are rescued by SEAL Team Six members disguised as North Korean troops. Back in the US, Dave writes a book about his experience, and North Korea moves toward becoming a democracy with Sook as interim president.

REVIEW:

Remember at the end of last year when it seemed as if we were going to go to war with North Korea. That wasn’t over nuclear weapons, sanctions, or someone getting assassinated. All that drama, which to me sounded like junior high squabbling, to be honest, was over this film, The Interview. Surely a picture that nearly causes countries to go to war is a great feat in cinema, right?

What is this about?

When a TV host and his producer score an interview with Kim Jong-un, who’s a fan of their show, the CIA asks them to assassinate the dictator.

What did I like?

Journalistic satire. When was the last time you actually watched the news? I think it was high school for me, excluding weather and sports. Fact is, with the so-called “fair and balanced” news channels squabbling like school children about which side it right and wrong, you can’t tell what is news and what isn’t. This is why you can get more informed from John Stewart and Stephen Colbert. Hell, I dare say you can get more useful info from watching E! That is exactly what this film is satirizing, in a way. Think about if one of those talentless hacks over there were to score an interview with someone like Kim Jong-Un or the guy in charge of Saudi Arabia, I can’t think of his name offhand. Talk about a coup!

Seth Rogen. Seth Rogen is the fat, funny guy. His career has been built off of this schtick, but sometimes he does play the straight man. I do believe this is the best I’ve seen him in that role. Maybe it is because James Franco is such a failure at comedy, but Rogen nails the seriousness of this character, while still being able to bring some funny here and there. Maybe he should look into doing some non-comedy roles just to test it out. Judging by this, he may have found another genre that will work for him.

Kim Jong-Un. A ruthless dictator is not someone who can easily be impersonated, right? In theory that is the case, but nobody said anything about making the guy a parody, similar to how Team America: World Police did with his dad. I’ll be honest with you, the way Randall Park played this guy (up to a point) would make anyone want to hang out with him or let him rule their country.

What didn’t I like?

Action. The last act of this film plays out a bit like a war film. That would be fine it that was what this was or even if this was an action comedy, but this is just a comedy, so why the action? The control room stuff didn’t cause any problems for me, but when they got in the tank and started dueling with the helicopter, as it were, I have to take issue with, mainly because this whole scene doesn’t fit with the rest of the film, came out of nowhere, and seemed to put in here just so James Franco could drive a tank while listening to Katy Perry. WTF?!?

Poops. As expected with these two, you get lots of “frat boy” type humor. After the fist 10 minutes or so, I knew what kind of jokes I would be privy to the rest of the film. What turned me off, though, was how they insisted on bringing up “peeps and poops”. Seriously, poop jokes are funny maybe once in the right setting, but to keep bringing up the same thing is not going to make it any funnier, even if the guy (Kim Jong-Un) actually “sharted” in the interview proving the rumor about him wrong.

Thought process. I really have to question the reason why this film was made. It isn’t like we are on the friendliest of terms with North Korea, so why make a film where the CIA masterminds an assassination attempt on the guy? There is no way in which this was going to end up not causing some kind of ruckus, and as you saw at the end of last year, this film did everything but start WWIII!

Final verdict on The Interview? Well, it is above average, I’ll give it that. I said when the Sony leaks and controversy first happened that it was probably some sort of publicity thing. I still stand by that statement, to an extent. This film was helped out by all that publicity. You know what they say, “No publicity is bad publicity.” I commend the filmmakers for taking the risk, but maybe this was just too big of a risk. Instead of North Korea, maybe they should have used a country that doesn’t hate us as much…Canada, maybe? HAHA! Seriously, though, while I wasn’t a fan of this flick by the time it finished, it did keep my attention throughout, there are some good parts, and I did laugh a few times. Do I recommend this? No, but if you do watch this, it won’t hurt.

3 1/2 out of 5 stars

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