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Really? Seth Rogen’s THE INTERVIEW Caused All this Hub-bub? – Movie Review

Before seeing The Interview, the film that prompted the hacker group Guardians of Peace (GOP) to threaten war, terrorist attacks in the vein of 9/11, dogs and cats living together, mass hysteria, my reaction was really? Over a Seth Rogen film? After seeing The Interview, my reaction is REALLY? OVER THIS SETH ROGEN MOVIE?

In short, despite the fact that it’s become a lightning rod for free speech and probably etched itself into history over the GOP hacking Sony Pictures, The Interview is much ado about nothing.

The Interview

Aaron Rapaport (Seth Rogen) has just celebrated his 1,000th episode as producer of Skylark Tonight, a trashy TMZ-esque show hosted by Dave Skylark (James Franco, who seems to be on a combination of LSD and speed) when an old journalism buddy chastises him for creating trash television. His conscience shaken, Aaron wants to start covering more serious topics When Kim Jong Un announces Skylark Tonight as one of his favorites, Dave and Aaron are quick to set up an interview with the Supreme Leader of North Korea. Once word breaks out, the CIA convinces the two to assassinate the son of Il.

It’s almost impossible to differentiate The Interview from all of the controversy caused by the film’s very existence. Even paying to watch it (on YouTube) and loading it up feels like an act of defiance, like I was thumbing my nose at North Korea (and terrorists in general), saying “See? I love the free speech! Even if it involves a throwaway Seth Rogen movie!” Once that patriotic, America, f–k yeah! feeling wears off, the film’s flaws visibly come to the surface.

The Interview

At 112 minutes, a movie featuring Seth Rogen and James Franco doing their Pineapple Express shtick while trying to assassinate Kim Jong-Un easily runs about 20 minutes too long. Rogen has stated in the past he likes to make movies on lower budgets so he can have more control, but someone needed to tell him – and co-director Evan Goldberg – that The Interview drags on more than one occasion. Dan Sterling, a veteran of The Daily Show, South Park and The Sarah Silverman Program, receives sole writing credit on this, his first feature film. If Rogen and Goldberg, who both co-wrote and directed the exceptionally silly This is the End, had more of a hand in the writing, maybe The Interview would’ve reached the over-the-top level of satire needed for the movie to work. Sure, it’s kind of funny to see Kim Jong Un sing to Katy Perry, dunk on an eight-foot basketball goal and talk about daddy issues, but The Interview only scratches the surface of what it could’ve been. Rogen and Goldberg don’t care about that, though. Or politics. I guess it’s insulting to some to see the “Supreme Leader” of North Korea portrayed in such a light, but honestly? This merited a cyber attack on Sony Pictures?

The Interview

With This is the End, the laughs went hand in hand with what they were trying to accomplish. In The Interview, beyond getting a laugh and making sure James Franco isn’t acting too batshit insane, they don’t seem to really care.

It probably doesn’t even matter whether or not The Interview is a good film. People will flock to see the movie for no other reason to see what the hub-bub was about or to exercise their right to free speech. Sure, there are a handful of laugh out loud moments, but at its heart, The Interview is very much a poor man’s Pineapple Express and not worth hacking Sony Pictures, threatening 9-11-esque attacks, or any of the other ridiculous stuff reality has heaped upon this silly trifle of a film.

 

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The Author

Ryan Hill

Ryan Hill

Ryan Hill used to spend his time writing screenplays into a notebook instead of doing homework. That love of film and all things storytelling led him to spend most of his time writing. He's been a film critic in North Carolina for over five years, and his debut novel, THE BOOK OF BART, is out now. Please buy it. Ryan also feels odd about referring to himself in the third person.