Thursday, 12 February 2015

Film Review: The Interview



The Interview is a controversial comedy from writer/director duo Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen - it sees James Franco and Rogen himself play two civilians tasked with assassinating the leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-Un, after landing an interview with the famed dictator. 

After causing a bit of a ruckus over Christmas, The Interview has now landed in Australian cinemas - so, is the fuss justified or is the whole thing something of a storm in a teacup?


In The Interview, James Franco plays Dave Skylark, a famous talk show host who focuses on celebrity and tabloid news. His show is popular amongst audiences (kind of like TMZ) but has earned him (and his producer Aaron, played by Seth Rogen) a reputation for being low-brow and lacking credibility.

However, all this is set to change when the duo are asked to journey to North Korea and interview Kim Jong-Un, the revered supreme leader of the isolated totalitarian nation. Before they can leave, Dave and Aaron are intercepted by Agent Lacey (Lizzy Caplan), a CIA operative who wants them to use this rare opportunity to 'take him out' once and for all.

Having worked together previously on a number of different projects (This Is The End, Bad Neighbours, Pineapple Express, Knocked Up), Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg have got their well-trodden formula down to a tee by now. It isn't for everyone, but their blend of bromance comedy has been covered time and again by this duo in the past. Sometimes it works (Bad Neighbours) and sometimes it falls a little flat (This Is The End) - thankfully, The Interview falls predominantly into the former category.

I wasn't expecting to like this film very much, but the honest truth is that I had a great time. It's not the most original or memorable comedy ever but I liked the interplay between Rogen and Franco, the latter of which is an absolute hoot.

I honestly can't recall another film where James Franco has been as consistently funny or expressive as he is here - some of the faces he pulls are hilarious. His eyebrows are working overtime in this film and that puppy he gets to cuddle is just adorable. Plus, his character is endlessly quotable - "they hate us cause they anus!", "holy fuckamole!" and "that is such a Boromir thing to say!". He throws every last ounce of energy into the role, and it shows. Simply put, Franco steals the show from Act 1, Scene 1.

I'm not the biggest fan of Seth Rogen, but I found that he's nowhere near as irritating here as in his past work. That being said, a lot of the comedy rests on his usual array of dick, butt and gay jokes. This is nothing new and part of the reason The Interview doesn't reach its full potential. I wish someone would just get on the phone with Seth and let him know humour does exist outside of the gutter. There's nothing wrong with a dick gag (no pun intended) here or there, but one every minute is too much to swallow.

Lizzy Caplan plays the CIA agent who tasks Aaron and Dave with their wacky mission. She's in the film for most of the first half and the back-and-forth dialogue between her and Franco is really, really good.

Randall Park (the actor who plays Kim Jong-Un) is actually really funny as well. The bond that Skylark and Kim forge in the middle section of the film is packed full of laughs - one scene inside a tank where the new BFF's listen to Katy Perry is hilarious. When the film erupts into mayhem near the end, the action lurches uncomfortably between comedic and genuinely damaging - it's only when it focuses fully on being a comedy that The Interview works best.

One thing I would say is that it is just that little bit too long - the premise is brilliant but stretching it out across nearly two hours means it loses impact. By trimming it down and keeping the pace brisk, Goldberg and Rogen could've kept that energy going throughout.

My advice would be to ignore the hype. The Interview isn't a work of genius, nor is it a defining comedy masterpiece. Far from it. However, it is a buttload of fun that is amplified by its likeable and charismatic leads. Franco is the funniest he's ever been whilst Rogen does a good job being the 'straight guy' to Franco's impulsive and dim-witted talk show host.

The Verdict: 7/10


Set aside the buzz and strap in for a fun time. The Interview is an irreverent and energetic comedy that is all about the dynamic between its two leads. The plot does veer off course a little in the middle, but for the most part I was swept up by the outrageous concept and tongue-in-cheek sense of humour.

6 comments:

  1. Great review! I thought this was still pretty damn funny and it didn't deserve all the hate it got.

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    1. Thanks Brittani! :) Completely agree, it's seriously funny in places! :)

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  2. NO!!! How can you say that This Is the End doesn't work?!? It's terrific!

    Way better than this piece of mediocrity! ha

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    1. Sorry Tanner! I really didn't like This Is The End very much :/ It's nothing personal though haha.

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  3. Great review! I can never make my mind up on Seth Rogan and James Franco, I tend to either love or hate their films, there's no inbetween, but I'll definitely give this a go :)
    - Allie

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    1. Thanks Allie! :) It's worth a shot - I'm kinda the same with Seth's films to. They're either good or really not good at all. This one is the former though :) Thanks for commenting!

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