Now that “The Interview” is available to audiences in select independent theaters and online platforms, it is my solemn duty to officially review this most unsolemn of movies. As I stated last week in a commentary on the brouhaha, “I’ve seen worse movies than Sony’s ‘The Interview,’ starring James Franco and Seth Rogenas two bumblers enlisted by the CIA to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. But I don’t think I’ve ever seen a movie this mediocre that had more real-world repercussions.”
Sony, which greenlighted the movie, last month suffered a major cyberattack instigated, according to some US intelligence officials, by the North Koreans, who subsequently scared off the major US theater chains from showing the film by issuing 9/11-style threats.
In the film, Mr. Franco plays Dave Skylark, an oleaginous TV talk-show host specializing in celebrity sleaze. His producer and best friend, Aaron Rappaport (Mr. Rogen), yearns for respectability. When North Korea’s Supreme Leader, Kim Jong-un, turns out to be a fan of Skylark’s show, the two doofuses fly off to Pyongyang for an exclusive interview.
The CIA assassin twist is what almost certainly caused all the trouble. It’s not often (maybe never?) that a Hollywood movie, a comedy no less, has chosen to target a sitting world leader. Even Charlie Chaplin, in “The Great Dictator,” ddidn'tmention Hitler by name, and he didn't show him being blow to bits either. Chalk one up for Sony, in one of the biggest acts of corporate cluelessness in film history.
“The Interview” is in no sense a political movie. It’s a gross-out bromance with a tingle of political incorrectness. There was idiocy but no special bravery in making this movie, which ends with Kim blown apart in his fleeing helicopter. You can be sure that Rogen and his co-director Evan Goldberg would not have made a comedy about, say, the assassination of Vladimir Putin, and Sony would never have greenlighted it. But Kim, with his funny haircut, is a safe target. Or so they thought.
Ratcheting up the slobbola quotient, the filmmakers score occasional laughs, mostly from Randall Park as the Katy Perry-loving Kim and Diana Bang as the North Korean cutie who is officially in charge of the interview.
I have now exercised my right to free speech. If you want to see this movie because you consider it your patriotic duty, go right ahead. If you want to see it because you’re primed for a laugh riot, take a pass. Grade: C- (Rated Rated R for pervasive language, crude and sexual humor, nudity, some drug use and bloody violence.)