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November 27, 2023

The Interview: Movie Review

By Marcus Absent

Internet "critics" usually fall into one of two categories. First are the "fanboys" who praise their favorite actor, director, or product, regardless of the quality of the current endeavor. Second are the cynics who are quite the opposite, stroking their egos by trashing a product or spouting off some half-baked conspiracy theory.

The new comedy The Interview has legions of critics on both sides. There are those who will praise anything actor/director Seth Rogen does. Then there are the cynics who claim the entire incident of Sony Pictures' computers being hacked and the supposed threats by North Korea are all an elaborate publicity stunt to salvage a likely bomb. I myself, am neither, being well beyond the age of Rogen's target audience, and do not subscribe to conspiracy theories, feeling the simplest explanation is most often correct.

Rogen plays Aaron Rapaport, the hard-pressed producer of a popular talk show with James Franco playing the glib but often intuitive host, Dave Skylark. The show is also a favorite of North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un who agrees to be interviewed by Franco. The CIA enlists Franco to assassinate Kim, using the toxin ricin (which fans of the series Breaking Bad will recall being put to good use).

However Kim (well played by Randall Park) is able to convince Skylark that reports about the hunger and tyranny in North Korea are inaccurate. (This goes a long way in explaining the behavior of people like Dennis Rodman, who can be charmed by a personable dictator.) Skylark initially becomes opposed to the assassination plot, but then seeing North Korea for what it truly is, changes his mind, using his skills as an interviewer, using details from off-the-record conversations with Kim to bring the dictator to tears -- on live North Korean State TV.

The two principal female roles play out in an interesting manner. Both CIA Agent Lacey, played by Lizzy Caplan, and her North Korean counterpart, Sook, played by Diana Bang, start off as hard-nosed, humorless bureaucrats, but as the story evolves become more human, showing more emotion.

Being a Seth Rogen film, there will be some tasteless moments, although Kim's ultimate comeuppance is done in a bloody, but interestingly digitized, manner. But there are enough truly funny moments to make up -- and the beginning cameo by Eminem is amazing. So the fanboys will be disappointed; this is not a film likely to win any Oscars or convert any Seth Rogen-haters. Cynics will dislike the fact that it is a good movie, their conspiracy theories faded into oblivion.

So I would give "The Interview" 3 1/2 stars; not the funniest movie ever, but well-worth the $6 online rental fee.

Article © Marcus Absent. All rights reserved.
Published on 2015-01-05
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