Now that all of the buzz has pretty much subsided about The Interview, and people are actually seeing it, I figured it was time to watch it and give my honest opinion about the film that could have potentially started WWIII. In some ways it is exactly what you would expect: a film that lampoons Kim Jong-un, while also serving as a fictional attempt at assassinating him, that devolves into over-the-top ridiculousness with some very funny moments and your expectedly raunchy and crude humor. But it is also unexpectedly entertaining if you go into it knowing exactly what it is, yet thanks to the monumental controversy that followed it, it has been scrutinized a lot more than it should be, and already it has a pretty weird balance of lovers and haters.
The plot is basically common knowledge at this point because that, and the portrayal of Jong-un, is exactly what got the movie in such hot water in the first place. Dave Skylark is your average celebrity interviewer who only focuses on the absurd moments, never taking anything seriously. When it is discovered that Kim Jong-un is a massive fan of the show, an interview is set up, but not without the CIA getting involved and asking for Skylark to assassinate him. Skylark and his producer, Aaron, are whisked off to North Korea where things go insane.
James Franco and Seth Rogen continue with their consistently humorous buddy roles. With Franco as Skylark, the often oblivious yet nonetheless best friend, and Rogen as Aaron, the producer and best friend of Skylark, The Interview has an unbeatable duo in its leads. Their comedic chemistry is one that has lasted multiple films (and a TV show) and seems to only get better. They bring along Lizzy Caplan, Randall Park, and Diana Bing for a hilarious supporting cast.
The movie is pretty slow getting into its full swing. The initial moments have a lot of fluff to make the arrival to North Korea feel more anticipated. Once in North Korea things begin to get a lot funnier, though more absurd. Some of it really works well, but some of it feels trite and unnecessary. There are so many times someone shoving something up their butt can be gut-bustlingly hilarious, and this time seems a bit much. The lampooning of Jong-un is as offensive as you would expect, but it also works a lot better than it could have. His love of Katy Perry, margaritas, and his growing up in the shadow of his father seem odd at first but they produce some of the biggest chuckles throughout the film.
As politically-charged this film has become, it doesn’t exactly appear to be as effective as films like The Great Dictator (which had its fair share of controversy) back in 1940.There are very obvious questions raised and asked about the status of the people of North Korea, but it is not necessarily addressed like it would be if it was a more serious movie. It won’t go down as one of the most radical movies of all time, but just the one that made fun of the dictator you definitely should not be making fun of.
In the end, The Interview has yet to start WWIII. It’s hilarious lampooning of Kim Jong-un makes for a rollicking good-time, but it is slow to get to the punch. Franco and Rogen are as good as ever, with their usual best-friend schtick working well in their favor. The Interview is not the first movie to make fun of the wrong person, and it won’t be the last, though it almost could have been. If you want to see what all the buzz is about, just go in knowing that you’re seeing exactly what you’d expect, and you’ll come away laughing.