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The Interview

December 24, 2014

Christmas has come early to a certain subset of the population who enjoys their brows being tugged down from the high end political realm into the pits of dick and fart jokes. After a ludicrously over the top waffling by major corporations and threats of physical and cyber terrorism that got so absurd President Obama himself waded into the discussion, Sony (in partnership with our cybernetic overlords at Google) has finally released The Interview.

This is truly great news because it gives you something to talk about with your “conservative uncle” at Christmas dinner rather than the talking points I am certain the Democratic and Republican parties will respectively email to you this evening. Of course, that doesn’t mean that discussing the film will free you from off-the-wall conspiracy theories. The mundane thinkers will surely point to the film’s lukewarm critical reception and a Christmas release date for a decided not family friendly film, to bolster the idea that Sony has created a politically charged firestorm to get people to see a movie no one would care about otherwise. Those of you who are truly insane will claim that the Sony hack several weeks earlier, and the ensuing clusterfuck over The Interview, was a false flag operation perpetrated by the United States Air Force to slip a line budget item into the CRomnibus so that they could build new spy satellites.

Shoving all of that insanity off the desk like office supplies when you’re trying to get it on with a kinky lady executive (a trope which has replaced the kinky lady secretary because progress), we have to stop and take a look at this film as it stands. For those of you who have been living in a bog down in the valley and thus missed the POTUS talking about a Seth Rogen film, The Interview is about an entertainment “journalist” interviewing Kim Jong Un who happens to be a fan of his ridiculous show. I put journalist in quotes because David Skylark (James Franco) is supposed to be an idiot celebrity himself who just happens to be good at interviewing people. His show has grown successful over the past decade thanks to his intelligent producer Aaron Rapoport (Rogen), who after a chance encounter with a former classmate wants to push the show into a more serious direction. This leads to them interviewing Kim Jong Un (Randall Park) and then being recruited by Agent Lacey of the CIA (Lizzy Caplan) to assassinate him.

The set up is simple and the various complications that pop up throughout the film are all clearly telegraphed in a way that is almost painfully obvious but never not funny. I was honestly surprised how they laid out the movie so clearly in the first act, not because Goldberg and Rogen are particularly complex storytellers, but because they managed to sprinkle in some fun twists and surprises in their last few outings together. As I’ve discussed with James Franco and Seth Rogen films before, this felt fairly indulgent. The script is peppered with Lord of the Rings references, the premise itself puts them in absurd situations where they do little but bounce off of each other, and there’s this permeating sense that they’re doing this just because they can.

Yet, as I’ve said many times, there is something to art that is created solely to please and amuse the creator. There’s never a moment when Franco, Rogen, and Park (or any of the actors actually) look like they aren’t having fun with everything they’re doing. They obviously cooked this up while joking and laughing amongst themselves, building the scenes up to a point where you can imagine them shouting, “What?!” over and over again at each other. The Interview is unabashedly indulgent, silly, and designed to appeal to people with the same sense of humor as the creators.

Let’s face it, you already know if that’s you because they’ve been doing this for years.

Would it have been a commercial or critical success? No, definitely not, and it still won’t be. That’s why they were going to be releasing it on Christmas anyway. There wasn’t a broad comedic well being drawn upon here like in Neighbors, nor was there the combination of self-deprecation and ‘perfect moment’ comedy that This is the End had. The Interview was just an absurd movie that these guys convinced a few major corporations to let them make, and frankly I really enjoyed it.

You can rent it on youtube for 6 dollars or buy it for 15 and I’d say it’s worth the price of admission. Get some of your friends together, grab a few beers, maybe a pizza, sit down, relax, and have a good time. Or I don’t know, go watch some musical nonsense in theaters with your kids or your mom or whatever.

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From → Movies

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