Feb 13, 2015 Film & TV
Directed by Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen
There’s a story that Kiwi director Roger Donaldson tells, about Muldoon requesting a private viewing of the anti-totalitarian film Sleeping Dogs so that he didn’t have to be seen seeing it at the movies. Maybe North Korea’s supreme leader Kim Jong-un saw The Interview. In an alternate world, it’s possible to imagine he has some taste, and the whole Sony hack was intended to protect filmgoers from this dross.
But never mind the North Korea hacking kerfuffle. Other, highly respectable critics have been altogether too kind about a film that casually drops dialogue like “Just c**t-punch the bitch”. Truly, fuck that shit. How is this ass-numbing pile of poo rating higher than 50% on Rotten Tomatoes?
Fortunately I was able to see The Interview on-demand, so I could watch it in short instalments over the course of a week. If I’d had to swallow this turd all in one go, someone would have been hurt. Freedom of speech was invoked for this?
The Interview opens with a montage of studio interviews by schlocky TV host Dave Skylark (James Franco) and already it’s bad news: though the star cameos are good, this is a world where the most shocking celebrity “facts” the writers can dream up are that Eminem is Actually Gay, and Rob Lowe is Really Bald.
Soon, it emerges that Kim Jong-un is a fan of Dave’s, and invites him to be the first westerner in forever to interview him. Dave’s producer and best friend Aaron Rapaport (Seth Rogen) isn’t so sure, given that the interview questions are pre-approved – but goes along with it for his mate. So far, so bromantic. Then the CIA get involved, suggesting the interview is a prime opportunity to “take out” Li’l Kim (Randall Park, in the film’s best performance). After that, it’s all tits and buttholes and missiles and Katy Perry gags as everyone double-crosses everyone else, culminating in a really pretty shocking assassination scene.
Interestingly (not really, I’m just trying to find ways to make these sentences more lively so that I don’t pass out on my own laptop) there are way more asses than tits in The Interview. The filmmakers’ own assholes and the North Korean leader’s alleged lack of one are the – er – butt of most jokes. What am I missing about this rear-end fixation? My Google search history now includes “obsession with buttholes” but I’m still none the wiser.
It’s not that we don’t know what to expect from these guys. It’s that I didn’t expect it to be quite this “meh”. Seth Rogen and his friends are masters of the 21st Century stoner comedy, peddling a mid-30s masculinity that’s extremely arrested in its development, usually culturally ignorant but often very fun. But not here.
Dave Skylark is a potentially great character and Franco – a human wink with a megawatt smile – was made for the role. In light of the Brian Williams NBC saga and in the wake of the Anchorman films, perhaps Skylark could have become an ongoing big-screen character. But no. Sony won’t touch this again, and I need to shower.