Spies Like Us meets The Hangover
To think that this film caused an international incident with North Korea makes you question the sanity of the world we live in. The Interview is raucous, very broad satire with a ribald edge taking its cues from several different television shows including TMZ, Bill Maher, Stephen Colbert, and others. And for the first 30 minutes it is a hilarious caricature of talk show hosts with an air of self-importance, and the banality of the topics and people they interview.
James Franco plays the role of television interviewer Dave Skylark with relish as he spouts the most ridiculous lines to straight-man Seth Rogen (Rapaport), his TV show producer.
At times I did laugh out loud over James Franco’s characterization as Skylark especially when he declares airheaded lines like, “The first rule of journalism is: give the people what they want.”
To which Rogen responds, “I think that's the first rule of circuses and demolition derby's.”
Or when they have sophomoric exchanges like this one…
Franco: “they hate us 'cause they ain us.”
Rogen: “They hate us 'cause we anus? WTF does an anus have to do with it?!”
Franco: “They HATE us 'cause they AIN'T us.”
Rogen: “That is not what it is.”
Franco: “Yes, it is… Haters gonna hate. Ain’ers gonna ain't.”
Rogen: “(weakly) . . .that is not an actual thing people say...”
The film’s premise: Skylark Tonight is a successful TV talk show but its producer, Rapaport (Rogen), is depressed because he has been confronted with his own mediocrity after a colleague points out the vacuous nature of Skylark Tonight when compared to 60 Minutes. Rapaport fancies himself a journalist. To appease Rapaport's (Rogen) self-doubts of his journalistic achievements, Skylark (Franco) agrees to pursue an “important” interview with the dictator of North Korea, who happens to be a avid fan of the show. Rapaport (Rogen) travels to China and successfully secures a scheduled time and terms for the interview. Once back in the U.S., Skylark and Rapaport are approached by a sultry CIA agent for the mission of assassinating the North Korean leader.
Despite Rapaport’s initial response, “If we kill him won't they just get another chubby dude with a goofy hairdo, to come in and replace him?” and his assertions that they are being “honey potted,” they both agree to the mission and travel to North Korea.
Rogen and Franco are not bad actors. They have great chemistry and have proven their abilities in other films such as The Guilt Trip (Rogen), and 127 Hours, and OZ The Great and Powerful (Franco). The problem with The Interview is that it is a very thin story with no subplots or ancillary characters to add depth or richness.
Sadly, after the first 30 minutes the film dissolves into a boring, flailing and humorless bromance between Skylark and the North Korean dictator peppered with extremely gruesome and gratuitous violence. And although for few seconds, while our heroes are in the tank, the film does recover some of its energy, it is too late for the film, which ends in the same flaccid manner as another Rogen-Franco adventure, The Pineapple Express.
If you crave to see an entertaining violent outing I would instead recommend The Expendables III rather than The Interview. Or better yet read a book.
April 15, 2015
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