What a tumultuous ride it’s been for audiences and movie makers alike. Getting to see The Interview has not been an easy feat but, finally, we were given the opportunity to see this great film.
Just kidding. With all of the controversy surrounding this film — the Sony Hack, death threats, theaters dropping the film — you might expect The Interview to be the most important film of our generation. This is simply not the case. I am always saying that over-hyping a movie can be its biggest downfall and that is certainly proven true here. While The Interview has its fun moments, it really feels like the first nail in the coffin for Franco/Rogen buddy comedies.
From here on out there will be some SPOILERS so read with caution!
When we first meet the Dave Skylark/Aaron Rapaport team (Franco and Rogen, respectively) they’re interviewing the infamous Marshall Mathers aka Eminem, and he drops some unexpected personal information that world is simply not ready for. While the scene brings some laughs, it mainly serves to show just what type of journalism Skylark Tonight brings to the table. After this, we see the team celebrating their 1,000th episode and it’s here that an old college buddy of Rogen’s reminds him that his job, while entertaining, doesn’t bring any real reporting to the world. This, of course, sets our characters on their journey to find something real to report.
After some convenient dialogue about media coverage across the world we realize that Franco/Rogen can possibly score an interview with the most famous dictator of the modern world. This leads to a somewhat racially stereotypical scene involving Rogen getting a phone call from the press representative of North Korea, explaining they’re interested in getting an interview, which ends with Rogen saying things like “me so sorry” over and over again. This is something that most middle school audiences would piss themselves over, but I feel like it’s been played out. Honestly we could do without. Truthfully, you really shouldn’t expect groundbreaking comedy from this bunch, but this scene felt like grabbing at extremely low hanging fruit.
One of the my biggest gripes with The Interview is the film’s protagonists. Listen: Seth Rogen and James Franco can be highly entertaining together. Their recent successes (This is the End, Pineapple Express, etc.) have been welcoming additions to my ever-growing Blu-Ray collection, but this time around feels a little more tired and played out. We again see Rogen play the straight man to Franco’s eccentric, over-the-top character. Sure, it’s under the guise of a new plot but the tropes are pretty similar to what we’ve seen before from the duo. We get a scene after Franco has become buddy buddies with Kim Jung-un where Rogen is yelling at Franco for being distracted from their mission. This is a familiar echo of the scene in Pineapple Express where Rogen is shouting at the pot-dealing Franco for not taking life seriously enough and that they smoke entirely too much pot. While the scenes serve two different agendas, the latter feels like a rehashing of things we’ve already seen as audience members. Maybe this could’ve been helped along with the addition of Michael Cera or Jonah Hill or any number of the ensemble from previous films; then we wouldn’t be getting the same old Franco/Rogen routine. (Or maybe we would…)
Sure there are things I didn’t like or care for in the film, but The Interview does provide a few good laughs. There is an ever-escalating bit with the Katy Perry song “Firework” that brought about a hardy chuckle towards the end of the movie, maybe because I, too, happen to really enjoy that song. (DAMN IT’S CATCHY!) And while I don’t know the “Supreme Leader” personally, actor Randall Park really does nail Kim Jung-un. Most of his dialogue spills out of the back corner of his mouth which accentuates his more (for the lack of a better word) retarded moments and diatribes. He has two moments where he cries and both of them had me hunched over with laughter. The violence in the film, which has become a staple of these Franco/Rogen comedies, is stupendously hilarious. The final scene where we see the two foes clash is the high point of the film (duh, Miguel, it’s called a fucking climax) and really makes up for some of the so-so scenes that come before it.
Something to mention is how I was able to view this feature. Due to the circumstances surrounding The Interview, the film saw a limited theatrical release but was also released for digital download. While this isn’t exactly a brand new thing to happen to movies, as previously through some streaming services you could watch movies ‘before they hit theaters,’ it is the first time a big budget film was available to stream same day through some of the biggest streaming services. I caught it through Google Play but you could also see it on YouTube and a dedicated, Sony-run site as well as select theaters nationwide. There has been a debate among us here at AWNE about whether it’s better to see a film in theaters or the comfort of your own couch. I tend to be split down the middle on which is better, but boy am I glad I didn’t pay theater prices for this movie. Sure, it probably would’ve been funnier with a crowd to respond to it but I thoroughly enjoyed the privacy of my own home. I paid only six bucks and multiple people could watch it with me over 48 hours for the same price. You just can’t beat that.
A big problem I could foresee is the unfortunate, ill-timed buffering halts. (Damn, Miguel, just get better internet service. You know what? Fuck you. I pay a lot for this service and in some places it’s the only service that your money can buy.) When you’re in the middle of an important scene or in this case, a scene with specific comedic timing, these buffering moments can tremendously ruin any momentum that was built up. Had I been watching Interstellar or something of the like, I’d be sorely disappointed I didn’t just pay to see it in the theater, which rarely has issues with play back. As we move forward with digital releases we should be cautious of how moments like these could ruin the cinematic adventure that we set out on. But to those who want things to remain the way they’ve always been, it might be time to start looking towards the future of our movie viewing experiences.
Ultimately, I thought The Interview was just OK. If it hadn’t been so popular I would’ve rather just waited and caught it on Netflix later in 2015, which is my advice to anyone still curious about seeing it. If you have seen it, feel free to leave us your thoughts below or over on our Facebook page. And as always, Stay Entertained.