Arriving upon a wave of controversy that makes The Passion of the Christ look positively tame by comparison, the on/off release of The Interview was finally switched back to on, after it had been temporally pulled from cinemas in the wake of terrorist/North Korean/Hackers/disgruntled Sony employee threats. Instead, the campaign to stop the film from seeing the light of day has resulted in more interest than it would have ever gotten had it been released without incident.
So, can the reluctant event movie of the year stand up on the merit of the movie alone? Well, yes and no.
After 15 minutes of James Franco doing that thing of being so smug and annoying he forgets to open his eyes and holds his hands in that weird angle that reminds me of Ricky Bobby in Talladega Nights, I was starting to side with the Guardians of Peace that this film shouldn’t of been released but then, Eminem was surprisingly good in his cameo role and when Lizzy Caplan shows up as a C.I.A agent tasked with recruiting Rogan and Franco to assassinate North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-Un, the film starts to gather some momentum and a few laughs.
However, it suffers from the perception, in the wake of the controversy surrounding its release, that it would be a scathing satire of the North Korean regime. Instead, the setting is just used as a background for Rogan and Franco to re-thread their endless jokes about grown men shoving oversized objects into their rectums.
The film is not without its funny moments, the bromance between Dave (Franco) and Kim (Randall Park) has some laughs, as the unlikely duo bond over Katy Perry and cocktails. Park is the best thing in the movie by far, expertly shifting from man-child to dangerous lunatic.
It’s not a bad film, it just suffers under the weight of the baggage it has been forced to carry in the run up to its release. Franco’s smarminess is particularly grating, ironically one of the e-mails leaked during the hack mentions that they think the film would have been better with someone else in the role. You get the sense that the majority of Sony employees would adapt a “is that it?” approach when they see the movie that has cost them their personal security and, in some cases, their jobs.
As a satire, it pales in comparison to Team America: World Police and as a comedy it is weaker than the team’s previous efforts like This is the End and [Bad] Neighbours. It is a watchable but forgettable movie but one that defied the odds to even be released. For that at least, the film is a huge success.
2.5 out of 5 Nerds