When one thinks of Seth Rogen/James Franco-headlined comedies, one normally doesn’t think of international controversy. The new comedy The Interview has been under the microscope in recent months, not because it is clever and ridiculously funny but because it’s premise is one that has offended and caused some much heated debate. The film focuses on North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and two American journalists sent to the Supreme Leader’s home country to assassinate him. It is a simple film with lots of laughs but the subject matter isn’t for all tastes especially with Sony Pictures Entertainment (the studio responsible for releasing the film) falling victim to a recent internet hack. North Korea denied involvement with the hack and the film was released to smaller art house theaters to avoid further problems such as a potential terrorist attack.
The story of the film is pretty straightforward and involves Dave Skylark (Franco), an entertainment talk show host, who specializes in breaking gossip stories of popular celebrities. He and his producer Aaron Rapoport (Rogen) learn that Kim Jong-un is a big fan of their show. In the hopes of classing up the show and tackling more serious news stories, the two gentlemen attempt to book an interview with the Supreme Leader and in doing so, they are soon contacted by the CIA (led by Lizzy Caplan) to plan an assassination of Kim. The rest of the film follows Dave and Aaron as they spend time on Kim’s compound, getting to know him and trying to find the right moment to kill him, all the while bizarre hilarity ensues.
The Interview is a Frat Pack film through and through. Directed by frequent collaborators Rogen and Evan Goldberg (Neighbors, This is the End, Superbad), The Interview has the usual gross-out humor audiences have come to expect from these two filmmakers. While many people think this is a political commentary, it really is more of film for those looking for toilet humor and goofy violence. North Korea might have overreacted because The Interview is a film with only one goal and that is to make people laugh. Yes, the assassination of Kim is at the forefront in the film’s plot but it is done in a way that is light and humorous, not real and threatening. This is a harmless film that crosses a similar line like that in Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s 2004 Team America: World Police. Both films are just set out for laughs and if certain people or groups can’t see that these movies are simply out to cause joy and not incite international turmoil, then said people and groups need to strongly relax.
Due to the controversial nature surrounding the film, audiences will flock to see The Interview. With probably, the best publicity a film can get Seth Rogen and James Franco’s dopey comedy is another entry in the stoners’ filmographies and it is at times, sidesplitting and unapologetic. Franco plays the over-the-top and at times, highly sophomoric talk show host and Rogen is perfect as his producer, the straight man, and yin to Franco’s yang. Comedian Randall Park also steals the show as Kim and plays the Supreme Leader in a ridiculously off-the-wall manner. The Interview is the last decent comedy of 2014 and quite possibly the best and smartest of the year. Bottom line: this film’s intentions are innocent and it will provide for one fun time at the cinema.