The Interview (2014)
Directed by Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen
From the start of the movie, I knew “The Interview” was going to bomb. As talk show host David Skylark, James Franco is utterly unconvincing. As usual, Franco plays a heightened version of himself. Though he looks the part, he’s all flash and no bang. But he’s Oscar material compared to his co-star Seth Rogen, who completely lost me as smart, successful journalist and television producer Aaron Rapaport. He would have been more convincing if he had played Kim Jung Un. Rogen also directed, alongside Evan Goldberg, just as the pair did for 2013’s “This Is the End.” Thankfully, “The Interview” was able to surpass that dud by using an actual plot, telling real jokes, and not killing off all the funny characters in the first ten minutes.
By now you likely know the plot, but I’ll remind you. When they discover than Kim Jung Un (Randall Park) is a fan of “Skylark Tonight,” Skylark and Rapaport take steps to secure a game-changing interview with the dictator of North Korea. When the CIA (Lizzy Caplan) finds out, they ask the pair to stealthily poison the leader. But Skylark and Un sort of hit it off, even though Rapaport is reasonably offended by just the sight of the man. How will this interview go?
Goldberg and Rogen, along with Dan Sterling, also wrote the screenplay for “The Interview.” Think of it as a composite of Goldberg’s work on “The Watch” and “The Green Hornet,” Rogen’s screenplay for “Drillbit Taylor,” and Sterling’s writing on “The Sarah Silverman Program” and “South Park.” So, it’s a mixture of immature, caricature, amateur, and torture (but at least it wasn’t rapture…thanks, “This Is the End”). It does have some charm, including a couple hilarious cameos and an adorable puppy. It has a completely implausible romantic subplot, but you expect that. And it’s not completely devoid of a few laugh-worthy lines.
Unfortunately, a few funny lines can’t fill two hours of movie, and acting as unconvincing as Franco and Rogen’s is hard to watch. “The Interview” is like eating vegetables. Now, where is the steak?