Some Freaks And Geeks Meet Kim Jong-Un During The Interview
Dave Skylark has fun hosting a talk show where he gets celebrities to reveal intimate details about themselves. After 1000 episodes of the show, though, Dave's friend and producer, Aaron Rapoport, finds that the thrill of this lightweight show is gone. Seeing this, Dave does a little research and discovers a certain world leader is a fan of their show, Skylark Tonight. This revelation prompts Aaron to go a very unusual mission in The Interview. Dave (James Franco) tells Aaron to arrange a show where he can interview Skylark fan Kim Jong-Un (Randall Park), the Supreme Leader of North Korea. After making a call, Aaron hears from Kim's office with the instructions to come to a remote area of China and meet. There, Kim's public affairs director Sook Yun Park (Diana Bang), who sets the parameters for what will happen. Dave's interview will be scripted, and take place in Pyongyang in three weeks.
After Dave and Aaron celebrate this big moment, they receive a visit from CIA Agent Lacey (Lizzy Caplan). Acting on gathered intelligence, she'd like to use Dave an Aaron to assassinate the dictator, whose nuclear weaponry has missiles that can reach the US. She trains them in the safe handling of a poison that will kill a person within hours of contact with the skin. After the poison falls into the wrong hands, Lacey arranges for more to be sent, and orders Aaron to retrieve it. He gets it, but that causes trouble for him with the forces looking over the pair. Meanwhile, Kim spends the day with Dave, showing him a good time around his palace, and shows him some of the best parts of the capital. When things start to go wrong at a dinner with the Americans, he reveals his true intentions to Dave. Dave not only discovers he's been used, he also learns a truth Lacey told them before they departed.
Anybody familiar with the work of Rogen knows his humor veers more toward Cheech & Chong than toward pointed political satire. The Interview, in fact, does have a couple of party sequences featuring the use of illegal substances. Rogen has once again teamed with his creative partner Evan Goldberg to co-write the story of The Interview (which was adapted for the screen by first time film scenarist Dan Sterling), and Rogen and Greenberg also directed this picture, which is their second as a directing team (following 2013's This Is The End). The movie, though lacking in any sort of highbrow humor, does poke fun at the way the world seems so interested in any intimate detail about their favorite enterrainers. The movie has a delightfully goofy tone as the sides in this conflict try to get what they want the most. The real CIA would, no doubt, handle a real covert operation a little differently, but their mission is covert enough in this context.
The performer who gives the movie the right comic spark is Franco. Dave Skylark may not know the difference between Joseph Stalin and Sylvester Stallone, but he knows how to listen. He listens when Aaron wants a little change. Many a guest on his show understands Dave's penchant for listening, and they know Dave will not humiliate them when they share a secret. Dave, though, has to be a little more careful with Kim, especially when Dave slips in an unscripted question. Park is also good as Kim, a leader who openly treats Dave as both a fan and a friend. He wants Skylark Tonight to serve as his open introduction to the world, and a means for forwarding his own agenda. Rogen, Caplan, and Bang do decent work with their parks. Celebrities who have a little fun with their public images, and get laughs as guests of Dave, include Eminem, Rob Lowe, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt.
The Interview has received notice primarily because of actions North Korea took to try to stop its release. The main thing they did with this tactic was to generate publicity for the film, which still opened on schedule on Christmas 2014 in certain locations. Since none of those movie houses were near me, I decided to rent the movie through YouTube. I didn't expect one of the year's exceptional films, and I didn't get one here. World leaders have been portrayed in an unflattering fashion in the past, and they will be in the future. The Interview, though, has its own hidden agenda. The film may be about a plan to kill a real world leader, but it also shows what so many people consider most newsworthy. Dave Skylark and his team behind the camera merely deliver what the people want with a smile.
On a scale of zero to four stars, I give The Interview three stars. It's OK to tell Dave.