Tuesday 25 October 2016

Movie Review: The Interview (2014)

A mindless raunchy bromedy, The Interview carries its limited premise well past the funny stage and into exceedingly tedious territory.

Entertainment television show host David Skylark (James Franco) and his producer Aaron Rapaport (Seth Rogen) land an interview with North Korea's Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un (Randall Park). Before they can travel to Pyongyang, CIA agent Lacey (Lizzy Caplan) recruits them to assassinate the dictator by pressing poison into his palm.

Once they arrive in North Korea, nothing goes according to plan. First they lose the poison, then Aaron tangles with a tiger. David spends time with Kim and they strike up an unlikely friendship, causing David to question the mission. Aaron falls in love with Sook-yin Park (Diana Bang), the dictator's chief propagandist. When Kim reveals his true colours, David and Aaron have to make their move and their troubles multiply.

The Interview caused an international incident, with the humourless North Koreans giving the project much more publicity than it ever deserved by issuing all sorts of threats ahead of the film's release and perpetuating the hack of Sony Pictures Entertainment's servers.

Left alone, the lame film would have likely died a quick death. Co-directed by Rogen and Evan Goldberg, The Interview suffers from a lazy script that relies almost solely on frat boy humour intended to appeal to impressionable 12 to 16 year old boys. Every other joke surrenders to a mention of body parts, excretions or pornography, with Franco delivering the majority of his lines with an over-the-top wide-eyed maniacal zealotry. When merely mentioning the anatomy is not enough, The Interview resorts to on-camera hacking of body pieces in the name of fun.

Rogen mostly stands back and allows his co-star to careen out of control. Lizzy Caplan as agent Lacey, Randall Park as Kim Jong-un and Diana Bang as propaganda officer Sook deliver by far the more controlled and watchable performances. The two good moments in the entire movie involve the out-of-place tiger and a Soviet-era tank.

The Interview may have made for a useful 15 minute sketch. Stretched to a seemingly endless 112 minutes, the film is disqualified for aiming low and hitting nothing.

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