Seth Rogen once again finds himself trying to find the proper balance between jokes and serious situations, with varying degrees of success.
Review (with Spoilers) – Below
Characters & Story
Dave Skylark (James Franco) is one of the top media personalities around, however, his producer Aaron (Seth Rogen) looks around and while he is proud of the work he has done, at the same time he wants prestige. So, after Dave finds out North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (Randall Park) is a fan of his, Aaron sets up an interview. One which the CIA plans to use in order to take Jong-un out.
With around 20 laughs, I would say the movie certainly isn’t the funniest thing Rogen has put out , but it is because politics, arguably, aren’t his strong point. Though, with that said, as racially insensitive and immature as many of the jokes are, if you are a fan of Rogen or Franco you get what you expect. There is a lot of slightly homoerotic humor, jokes dealing with bodily fluids, and comedy which may only appeal to you if you don’t take Rogen, nor the production, too seriously.
Though the highlight for me was Park as Kim Jong-un. If only because, unlike how the previews made it seem, they did at least try to present that character’s side to things. Meaning you don’t just get some twisted evil dictator, but a boy who inherited a task and is trying to live up to his father’s expectations. All the while, everyone expects him to fail and they wish to take him down. Which isn’t to say you will cry for Kim Jong-un, but in a world where villains are often without their side of the story being told, you have to applaud Rogen for making a comedy which didn’t make Jong-un into a complete jackass.
Unlike Franco’s character who sometimes is quite insufferable. For with Franco going full on, when it comes to being an ignorant, and often arrogant, jackass, it sometimes ruins the potential of his jokes. For, considering how many racial jokes are used, if Skylark was someone who was played as someone more simple minded, you would think of him as a true dimwit. However, the way Franco plays him leads to you understand why many countries don’t like the US.
Outside of that, perhaps the main issue with this film is that you can see Rogen, writing partner/ director Evan Goldberg, and Dan Sterling are seriously out of their comfort zone when it comes to talking politics and making political humor. For with Rogen mostly dealing with characters on the cusp of adulthood, trying to dig deep into a dictator’s psyche, as well as try to develop his character and Franco’s, you can see he tried to push his capabilities past the point of his talent.
Overall: TV Viewing
The issue with The Interview is that it really doesn’t present strong political commentary, nor humor; it doesn’t give Kim Jong-un a serious opportunity to fight against American criticism; Franco becomes so insufferable that it is like he is trying to channel Jim Carrey’s version of The Riddler; and you can tell Rogen’s ambitions met serious enough obstacles, in storytelling and joke telling, to the point he likely just made it work versus tried to maintain the caliber of his better films.
Things to Note
- For Neighbors and This Is The End, my laugh count was above 50.