Bodily functions and not much else in “The Interview”

One of the buzzier moments of Hollywood recently, also affecting foreign policy, was the Sony hackings made by the group called the Guardians of Peace this past fall, threatening the movie “The Interview,” a comedy about the assassination of North Korean Leader Kim Jong-Un, being shown in theaters.

The major U.S. theater chains backed out of showing the film on its release date, and since then the film has found another life on the internet. It’s been available on services like Amazon and iTunes, and has been available for Netflix streaming since Jan. 24.

I was disappointed in December when the theater chains chose to not screen the movie. I thought it was a relatively weak move to give into the taunts of a hacker group, especially for a movie as superficial as “The Interview.”

I’ve been interested in watching this movie, as I’ve enjoyed the movies that directing and screenwriting pair Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg have made. I’ve also been a fan of Seth Rogen and James Franco ever since their younger days on the show “Freaks and Geeks.” As Franco said in another Rogen/Goldberg movie “This is the End,” “freaks for life!”

“The Interview” has been on Netflix for a few weeks now, and I finally got around to watching it, after hearing what other critics and people had said about. Some loved it, others hated it. I liked what comedian Doug Benson said about the movie on this movie-centric podcast “Doug Loves Movies.”

Benson had seen it in a packed theater, and he found the movie very enjoyable, watching with many others who had laughed. I know atmosphere can have a lot to do with how you react to a film. I probably would have enjoyed the movie more in a theater than just watching it on my laptop, granted the movie cost me relatively nothing on my laptop.

There is a lot to deem weak in this film. The movie used a whole arsenal of crass and disgusting jokes. I thought toilet humor should have been the third top billed actor after Rogen and Franco. The movie, especially the last 20 minutes, played out like a spaghetti western. I was surprised at the amount of blood and gore, and it looked like a parody of a Tarantino film.

I thought Rogen and Goldberg didn’t put enough thought into the plot or the depiction of North Korea that I don’t think I’d call this film a proper satire.

It relied on tired jokes and it wasn’t as sharp of a dig against North Korea as it could have been. All that North Korea could be concerned with in this film was that it was distasteful. Another complaint I have with this movie is that they didn’t utilize actress Lizzy Caplan to the best of her comedic abilities. She’s proved time and time again that she is a talented actress both in comedy and drama with her roles in “Party Down,” “Mean Girls,” “Freaks and Geeks,” and most recently “Masters of Sex,” but she’s shoved to the sidelines in her CIA agent role. The most we got out of her was concerned looks.

The movie did have some good quality, though. Randall Park was hilarious as Kim Jong-Un, and was great at pulling off the complexities of a man who likes to drink margaritas, listen to Katy Perry, and wants to kill anyone at the drop of a hat.

Diana Bang, who played the chief North Korea propagandist, was also good at playing the straight-man to the ridiculousness of Rogen, and she pulled the weight of mostly being the only woman on screen. Another breakout star was the puppy Franco had at the end. Who can deny that adorableness?

I’ll also give kudos to the pokes the film made at the modern journalism and entertainment media. It was clear that Franco was poking some fun at his real self, and I believe his character Dave Skylark probably would have done a better job of hosting the 2011 Oscars than Franco did.

“The Interview” tried to satire North Korea and Kim Jong-Un, but I think Rogen and Goldberg should have spent more time and thought on the script, and should have come up with more clever jokes than the constant toilet humor. I’d say you could wait for DVD or Netflix to watch this movie, but we weren’t given a choice anyways.

Final Verdict: 6/10


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