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Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Movie Review: The Interview (2014)

Never having done it before, could you kill someone? In December 2014, two average guys are going to find out how easy it is to pull off a killer job.

Directing this 112 minute action/comedy is Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen.

Jumping in front of the camera is: James Franco as Dave Skylark, Seth Rogen as Aaron Rapaport, Randall Park as President Kim Jong-un, Lizzy Caplan as Agent Lacey, Diana Bang as Sook and Charles Rahi Chun as General Jong. With appearances by Eminem as Himself and Rob Lowe as Himself.

Dave Skylark is the host for the popular celebrity talk show Skylark Tonight, and Aaron Rapoport is his friend and producer of the show. Although the show is a huge success, Aaron realizes that the
work he does on the show isn't taken as seriously by others in his field. Knowing that Aaron wants to do some real news, Dave gets an idea.  Dave wants to do an interview that no other company has done yet, an exclusive interview with the North Korean dictator, President Kim Jong-un. Although Aaron likes the idea, he doesn't see how it could ever be possible. That is, until they find out that Kim Jong-un happens to be a huge fan of Dave's and is willing to do an interview with him. With news getting out about the interview, Dave and Aaron get a visit from CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) with a... proposal. The CIA wants to use Dave's interview as a window of opportunity to attempt a mission to facilitate a coup. To pull this mission off, all Dave and Aaron have to do is... assassinate Kim Jung-un.

So, here we have a flick that's been drowned in controversy. Why? It's not like other movies haven't poked fun at leaders of countries. For those of us that can remember them, look at the old Bugs & Daffy war time cartoons (1943) or Hot Shots! Part Deux (1993). So, is it the assassination angle? Again, we've had films do that before also, like Team America: World Police (2004). Yet, this one, which is another comedy just like the previous titles listed above, had people up in arms and throwing out threats to stop others from watching it.

On December 16 2014, hackers issued a warning to movie-goers.
"We will clearly show it to you at the very time and places The Interview be shown, including the premiere, how bitter fate those who seek fun in terror should be doomed to. Soon all the world will see what an awful movie Sony Pictures Entertainment has made. The world will be full of fear. Remember the 11th of September 2001. We recommend you to keep yourself distant from the places at that time. (If your house is nearby, you'd better leave.) Whatever comes in the coming days is called by the greed of Sony Pictures Entertainment. All the world will denounce the SONY."

These words rang out, and soon film cancellations followed. Theaters like AMC, Cinemark, Cineplex, Regal and Southern Theaters either delayed or canceled their screenings. However, the film (that many people wondered about ever being seen) got some good news. Sony announced a limited release of the film at more than three hundred selected independent and arthouse cinemas. Along with a few theater showings, Sony also released the movie for rental on streaming services like YouTube, Xbox Video and Google Play. It may not have had a typical movie premier, but it's found it's audience and pulled in 15 million (online), and (around) 2 million from theaters. Not bad for a movie that almost didn't get shown, but not great when you're looking at it's 44 million dollar budget. So, after the controversy wears off and the dust settles, what does the flick have left to offer? Well, as luck would have it, a really funny movie.
                                                   

Now, when I went into the one I wasn't expecting much at all. I thought it was going to be some low brow, crude humored, fart joke filled flick that could only be found entertaining by audience members with a... self induced altered state of mind. Yeah, I figured you would have to be high to enjoy it. Well, I was partially right, this one does have tons of low brow and crude humor in it, but to my surprise, you don't have to have to be high to like it. Plus for all you action fans, you even get a small dose of explosions and shoot outs.

Writers Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg and Dan Sterling came up with an over the top (and I do mean... over the top) comedy, that centers around the leader of North Korea. Surprisingly, it's a well balanced, funny story that (yes) makes a mockery out of a President, but also makes fun of a lot of other things along the way. Now, if you walk into this as a serious top notch comedy, you'll be very upset. If your level of preparedness is more like that of a drunken frat boy thinking the same repetitive butt joke was just as funny the eighth time around, find a seat and start giggling.

The playthrough was great, it held my attention and I couldn't stop laughing. The film is filled with sight gags, funny lines and a really good cast. One of the things I thought really made this one work well was the pairing of Rogen and Franco. They had great chemistry together, and worked well off of each other. You have Franco's character that is very eccentric and constantly follows his own flow to whereever it takes him. While Rogen's character is a bit more reserved and trying to keep control of things, which made for a nice odd couple kind of balance for the humor. Also, Randall Park did an awesome job with his character as Kim Jung-un, he brings the funny and seriousness to the table.
                                                     

Overall, is it worth checking out? Yes, definitely, but keep in mind it's a Seth Rogen film. So be prepared for constant bombardment of foul language, crude sexual references and a wild James Franco. Now, will it change your life or send freedom to all the fainting goats currently stuck in captivity? (Surprisingly, there's a lot of them by the way.) Well, no... on both counts. Yet, every time someone watches it, you are telling  those that threatened the audience to not watch it that you won't let someone push around the fans or the film industry. Least that's what Rogen and Franco told me at the beginning of the film... and that I do believe.

It's rated R for language, violence and nudity.

4 stars


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