Movie Review: 'The Interview,' Starring Seth Rogen and James Franco

Film was released by Sony after all.

ByDAVID BLAUSTEIN
December 24, 2014, 4:47 PM
PHOTO: James Franco, as Dave, and Seth Rogen, as Aaron, in a scene from Columbia Pictures' "The Interview."
James Franco, as Dave, and Seth Rogen, as Aaron, in a scene from Columbia Pictures' "The Interview."
Ed Araquel/Columbia Pictures/Sony/AP Photo

— -- Starring James Franco and Seth Rogen

R

Two-and-a-half out of five stars

Let me put this in the appropriate parlance for a Seth Rogen-James Franco movie: Holy !@#$. "The Interview" is extremely mediocre, and this is coming from a fan of their past films, such as "This Is the End!" The opening scene, an interview between Franco’s goofy TV talk show host Dave Skylark and rap superstar Eminem -- playing a version of himself -- is the comic highlight of the film. Problem is, when that ends, we still have about an hour and 47 minutes to fill and there are more misses than hits.

By now, you probably know the premise: North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (Randall Park) is a big fan of Dave’s show, "Skylark Tonight." So Rogen, who plays Dave’s producer, Aaron Rapaport, reaches out to North Korea and arranges, as Dave puts it, “the biggest interview since Frosty-Nixon”: a sit-down with the leader himself. But when Dave announces the upcoming interview on his show, the CIA comes calling in the form of Agent Lacey (Lizzy Caplan), who asks Aaron and Dave to assassinate Kim.

Here’s the thing; the people who would’ve gone to see this movie because they are fans of Rogen and Franco will not be offended by the misogynistic, homophobic and racist jokes, some of which are funny… some of which are not. But because of the publicity the movie has garnered, many people who don’t care for this sort of humor will see the movie and be offended. And to that I say, “Good!” You should be offended, and while you’re busy being offended, be proud you are part of a society that gives filmmakers the freedom to execute this kind of artistic expression and humor.

One of the scenes in the movie concerns Rogen’s character trying to hide the container with the poison destined for Kim Jong-un so North Korean soldiers won’t find the “payload.” So where does he hide it? He forces it up his, well, you know. Yes, that is an actual scene in the movie that so upset a foreign power that it perpetrated a cyberattack on our country.

My reality rating here is two-and-a-half out of five stars, but "The Interview" has also earned my very first honorary five out five stars. Pay to see this film, even if you hate it, because for the first time ever, watching a man (James Franco) pull his hands out of his pants and smell his fingers is, quite simply, the only patriotic thing to do.

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