Prior to its release, “The Interview” was subject to a plague of controversy, which led to the Sony Pictures Entertainment hack. However, after seeing the film, it’s hard to believe there was so much uproar in the first place.
The plot follows Dave Skylark (James Franco) and his producer Aaron Rapoport (Seth Rogen), who run the popular celebrity tabloid television show “Skylark Tonight”. After bumping into a former schoolmate, the pair decides to legitimise themselves as journalists by landing an interview with Kim Jong-un (Randall Park) – a self-declared fan of the show. As Dave and Aaron prepare to travel to Pyongyang, their plans change when the CIA recruits them to assassinate the North Korean dictator.
The Interview contains the typical humour we’ve come to expect from Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, who have previously worked together on the likes of “Superbad”, “Knocked Up” and “This Is The End”. There’s a fair share of crude jokes, sexual innuendos and references to pop culture (including a host of cameo appearances from the likes of Eminem and Joseph Gordon-Levitt). Not all the jokes work, but there are enough that do to make it a worthwhile viewing.
Despite the controversy, the political satire is kept to a minimum. Whereas The Interview addresses real-world hot topics such as nukes and starvation, the actual humour surrounding Kim Jong-un is predominantly fixated on whether he has a butthole, and the dictator’s outlandish obsession with martinis and Katy Perry. It’s this sense of humanity that makes Kim Jong-un the film’s most likeable character, brilliantly portrayed by (an almost unrecognisable) Randall Park.
Nevertheless, The Interview’s best moments come when James Franco and Seth Rogen are on-screen together. They have a strong chemistry, as the two bounce off each other’s energy to skilfully mix illogical comedy with sadistic situations. Individually, James Franco’s sardonic portrayal of a vain entertainment show host is highly enjoyable to watch, whilst Seth Rogen is a solid anchor for the film.