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‘The Interview’ falls short of killing it

From the creative team that brought us “This is the End,” “The Interview” is one of the most talked about — and certainly most controversial — films of the year. The film features Seth Rogen and James Franco as a pair of American journalists determined to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un. Needless to say, the production has been the subject of controversy due to its sensitive and politically charged plot. 

Following the hack on December 16th, Sony Pictures Entertainment pulled the Dec. 25 theatrical release date of “The Interview” in fear of terrorist threats to any theater that played the film. 

Thanks to all of this controversy, however, the film gained a lot of free hype for audiences and critics, which ultimately leads to two big questions: Are North Koreans and Kim Jong-Un right to be offended by this film? Yes, they definitely are. Is all the hype justified after the film ends? Not really.

The highlight of this film is definitely the cast, particularly Rogen and Franco as the interviewers and Randall Park as Kim Jong-Un. The chemistry between the actors makes their wacky and somewhat incoherent behavior very easy to watch, even if there are only a handful of laugh-out-loud moments during the 112-minute film. 

Evan Goldberg, Dan Sterling and Rogen did a decent job with the script, too, and gave plenty of opportunities for the two American stars, particularly Franco, to improvise some pretty funny — and some pretty lame — jokes along the way.

Throughout the film Franco and Rogen are “honeydicking” the dictator, essentially getting close to the enemy in an effort to kill him, making for a hilariously coined term that adds to the film’s funny moments. It’s also very gratifying to see Lizzy Caplan in the film, but not too much, as suggested by the trailer.

The real problem, as hinted before, lies in half of the jokes in the film. Even if the story remains consistent and includes a couple of interesting twists, about half of the jokes completely miss the mark and end up feeling like a little too much. The same applies to Franco’s character as a whole. He is often so wacky and twisted one can’t laugh at him, but rather wonder why someone didn’t stop filming and tell Franco to stop doing so many drugs. Most of the humor is sexual and graphic, which may be funny for some, but becomes awkward and excessive after the first hour.

Comparisons are not the best way to prove a point, but it’s impossible not to compare this film to its far better spiritual predecessor, “This is the End.” The tone is very similar, but unlike “This is the End,” “The Interview” never quite gets to that level of self-parody it so desires to achieve, making it a low-ranking entry in Rogen and Goldberg’s resume.

Fans of Rogen and Franco will definitely want to watch this movie, but general audiences who are not accustomed to the classless style of the pair will probably find the film too much to handle. Even if you do enjoy low brow humor like this, you might not be able to help thinking about previous Goldberg-Rogen films such as “Neighbors” or “Superbad” and wonder what’s
missing.

Final rating: 6.8/10