The Interview (2015)

The Interview (2015)

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"Hello, is that the jokes department? WE NEED MORE JOKES!"
“Hello, is that the jokes department? WE NEED MORE JOKES!”

Twitter Plot Summary: A TV chat show host and his producer head to North Korea to interview Kim Jong-Un – and try to assassinate him.

As you are no doubt aware, The Interview was a huge news item at the end of 2014, what with Sony Pictures apparently being hacked by North Korea in retaliation for making a film that ridiculed their leader Kim Jong-Un. It seems that either Kim Jong-Il had more of a sense of humour than his successor, or the Internet in North Korea was bad or non-existent when Team America had its release in 2004. For what is little more than an average comedy movie filled with toilet humour and moments of outright silliness, in hindsight it seems like a lot of effort to have gone to.

Other than a Lord of the Rings obsessed Franco (who does a passable impression of Frodo but a  poor Gollum), there is little more to Dave Skylark other than a generally childish man who happens to front a strangely popular talk show in America. While he’s particularly good at getting details out of his interviewees, he is nothing more than a repressed individual seeking the approval of others. Parallels are drawn between him and this film version of Kim Jong-Un in a bid to create some conflict between Skylark and his producer Aaron Rapaport (Rogen). Aaron is nothing more than Rogen playing himself, there’s no nuance or subtlety but then you could argue that this sort of film doesn’t require any of that.

Things start moderately well with a joke about Eminem revealing he’s gay on Skylark’s chat show (it’s more about the executive’s reactions rather than the revelation, mind), but almost immediately afterwards it falls into a rut of bad jokes and some wishy washy plotting. Things pick up again in the final third when everything starts falling apart, but by then you could argue it’s too little, too late. The brief action beats in this section in particular lack the same impact of those in their earlier collaboration Pineapple Express, but when they do happen they look good.

Kim loved it when a plan came together. His favourite 80s TV show? Knight Rider.
Kim loved it when a plan came together. His favourite 80s TV show? Knight Rider.

The plot sees Kim Jong-Un invite Skylark over to North Korea to conduct an interview with him. The authorities in America get wind of this and get Skylark and producer Aaron to agree to kill the Glorious Leader in a rycin-laced handshake. This of course does not go to plan – as it would be a much shorter film otherwise – and, on a brief tour of lazy North Korean stereotypes that focus on the lies the country tries (and usually fails) spreading to the outside world, we discover that Kim Jong-Un (the film version, of course) is very much like Skylark, emotionally stunted and craving the right sort of attention from the right sort of people.

Is it worth all the hassle, publicity and hype? No, not in the slightest. If you’ve seen Pineapple Express then you’ve seen all of the best jokes in The Interview, and they were far superior in that particular film. Here the one big joke is how isolationist North Korea are, but due to the rather lazy writing it’s a project that ultimately fails to impress. You should have saved your time, Kim Jong-Un, this was a target clearly unworthy of your ire – even if it does point out that you pee and poo just like the rest of us mortals.

Score: 2.5/5

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