has generated more irony than a hipster gathering at Cracker Barrel. Perhaps the
biggest head-scratcher was the AWOL administration’s belated decision to
respond to the Sony hack by cutting North Korea’s internet access, right when
the studio was negotiating its availability on every digital VOD platform they
could find. Perfect—for Lil’ Kim. Finally, you can take home a physical copy of
Evan Goldberg & Seth Rogen unlikely free speech cause célèbre, The Interview (trailer here), which releases
today on DVD and BluRay.
you haven’t heard about a jillion times already, James Franco (or Flacco as our
super in-touch president knows him) plays a shallow celebrity chat show host
who scores an interview with Kim Jong-un, but the CIA convinces him and his responsible
producer to use the opportunity to assassinate the dynastic Communist dictator.
Hilarity then ensues, but The Interview’s
humor has taken it in the shins from cultural commentators who are
uncomfortable defending the free expression of scatological jokes.
Rogen’s Aaron Rapaport, the loyal producer of the Dave Skylark show, sticks a
metal tube up his butt. It is kind of an uncomfortable scene. However, the good
news is The Interview is funnier than
it has been cracked up to be, but it is easy to see why a lot of media people
were not laughing. Most of the jokes come at their expense. Sure, Skylark is an
over the top caricature of the most superficial red carpet stalker, but his
differences with the coach sitters on the morning “news” shows and The View are only of degrees and not of
kind. Dave Skylark more or less is the media, except he is not a bad person. We
know that because he loves puppies.
Rapaport, The Interview establishes
the general reality of North Korean prison camps and famines, but it stops
short of a categorical indictment. It fully admits (and the Dennis Rodmanesque
Skylark eventually accepts) the fact an appalling number of North Koreans have
been sentenced to concentration camps, but it never delvees into the standard
practice of condemning entire families, two generations in each direction, for
dubious crimes against the state. Admittedly, that would be a real buzz kill
for a comedy.
a weird way, Skylark is the dark flipside of the media-obsessed sociopath
Flacco plays in True Story. It is a fitting
role for the compulsively publicized actor-student film director. Rogen largely
assumes the straight man duties, but he shares decent buddy chemistry with
Flacco. Randall Park probably earns a more villainous feature spot in the next Awesome Asian Bad Guys with his highly
Freudian portrayal of Kim Jong-un. He certainly undermines the lofty stature of
Kim, but the film never invites outright sympathy for his insecurities. However,
the real breakthrough has to be Diana Bang, who exhibits nimble comic timing
and solid action chops as Sook, the lads’ minder and unlikely ally.
The Interview’s reportedly draggy
midsection really is a fair rap, but the last half hour just might be worth balloon-dropping
over Pyongyang. The tone is pretty much what you expect, but it is not as dumb
as you’ve been told. Arguably, it should have been even more explicit explaining
the crimes of the Kim Marxist Monarchy. Honestly, it would have been a shame if
they self-censored themselves, because what more could have possibly gone wrong?
Regardless, it is still worth seeing as a way of
making a personal statement. Of course, watching documentaries like Red Chapel, Kimjongilia, Yodok Stories, and
The Secret State of North Korea with
it or in its place makes an even stronger statement. Reasonably amusing as a
dumb comedy, The Interview still
carries wider significance, so it is duly recommended as a way to annoy Kim the
Third when it releases today (2/17) on DVD and BluRay.
Labels: DVD, James Flacco, North Korea, The Interview