It is fair to say that The Interview has caused a bit of a fuss. However, hacking scandal and threats of violence aside, there is still a film at the centre of all of that and it has finally seen a release in UK cinemas. The second film to come from the combination of Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, the first being This is the End, The Interview once again sees Rogen teaming up with James Franco to try to deliver comic success.
As the whole world probably knows, the film tells the story of Rogen and Franco’s character’s attempts to assassinate Korean leader Kim Jong-un. As respectively the producer and host of an American chat show, the pairing have been wondering about their place in the world and whether discussing Matthew McConaughey possibly having sex with a goat is really making a difference. This leads to them getting their hands on the interview with Mr Kim and the CIA hiring them to do the dirty deed. Once they reach Korea however, Dave Skylark (Franco) bonds with the Korean leader, smoking pot and having sex with lots of women. While Aaron Rapoport (Rogen) falls for his chief of propaganda, two issues that make the assassination a little bit more complex.
If you have seen a Franco and Rogen collaboration before, then you know exactly what kind of humour is in store for you. Dicks and asses are all over the place and in the only comparison you can make between this film and Inherent Vice, you can practically smell the drugs omitting from the screen. It’s not high brow and it isn’t trying to be, however, that leads to one of the film biggest flaws. It just isn’t funny enough. You will chuckle, maybe even laugh out loud a couple of times and it by no means isn’t funny, but it’s just not hilarious. It’s very middle of the road.
This humour also sits uncomfortably next to the message that the film is obviously trying to push. These are real world problems they are dealing with, North Korea is a place, not something these guys have invented. So while there is a moment in the film when they seem to be trying to make that point, where they name some of the facts about this totalitarian regime, it just doesn’t sit right next to such juvenile humour. It’s good to spread the word about North Korea, but is doing it just minutes after you’ve had a scene that involves Kim Jong-un and James Franco smoking pot and pissing about in a tank, really the time to do it?
Walking out of The Interview, it’s hard not to think, is that it? It’s such a middle of the road, average film that it really doesn’t seem worth all of the bother. While I understand why Kim Jong-un may not have been particularly happy about his portrayal as a Katy Perry loving men with major daddy issues, it never feels offensive enough to have really caused the controversy it did and if not for the hacking and so on, you can’t help but imagine this film would have just floated by most people, never actually entering their subconscious beyond the most basic of levels.