Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The Interview (Brockway)

Tropic Sprockets by Ian Brockway

The Interview

Alas, here is "The Interview", the film you never thought you would see because of threats to theater chains and the Sony hacking scandal which was triggered by North Korea getting a whiff of this very buffoonery, and vowing "merciless" 9-11 style retaliations or at least, more hacking.

Recently all theater chains pulled the film which prompted calls of outrage by George Clooney along with his petition, left mute and unsigned.

Yet amid much back and forth, it is now released in over 300 theaters not to mention online for all to view.

The film, excluding the controversy, could be described as a 21st century Three Stooges feature, titled "Kim Jong-un Gets A Sock to the Moon".

We have a TV tabloid king Dave Skylark (James Franco) and his apprehensive producer Aaron (Seth Rogen). After an interview with Eminem (playing himself) as he comes out as gay, while Rob Lowe comes out as bald, the two yearn to do something more. This is a good thing since neither Eminem nor Rob Lowe are funny.

 A sudden communication is found by Aaron which tells of Kim Jong-un's worship of  Skylark's show. Skylark is floored. He dreams of fame, fortune and respect if only he can somehow get an exclusive with the dictator.

After an ecstasy orgy, Dave and Aaron are abruptly awakened by the CIA who want the duo to covertly assassinate the leader by a poison handshake.

The best of the humor comes from Rogen and Franco together, who have some genuinely funny repartee. The discussion on "honeypotting" is a millennial version of Abbott & Costello's "Who's on First?"

When the couple does meet Kim Jong (Randall Park) they are aghast. He is gentle, self deprecating, soft and effeminate.

He painfully wants to be liked.

Jong-un is starstruck by the tv host and takes him on a 24 hour party (but of course). There are tanks, there are hot girls, and add to that sex and basketball too, in a nod to Dennis Rodman.

Park's performance is often funny. The Katy Perry exchange grows on you because both Franco and Park are irreverent and play it straight. Such moments contain the best of the film.

However when Kim Jong is affronted and has a temper tantrum, vowing to blow up America, "The Interview" becomes a bit self conscious in reaching for convention and flattens out. The second half tries too hard. One can almost guess when the guns start blasting, the bullets fly and the tanks start rolling.

The story flows best, as did "This Is the End" when employing its rapid outrageous repartee between Rogen and Franco about sex and other things, but mostly sex.

In the last scenes, the film imposes its moral with gore and fire, and goes ho hum.

That being said, the wild nonsense   associations---especially at the beginning--- are laugh out loud funny and the film will no doubt achieve a cult following, hands down. Although Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen have created a minor  diversion compared to Charlie Chaplin's  "The Great Dictator," both films share a history of being prohibited and censored.

And, if nothing else, "The Interview" in consequence and content, both ridicules and illuminates our bizarre but very real Mel Brooks-ish predicament when an extremely silly comedy can infuriate a power-mad leader of a country.

Write Ian at ianfree1@icloud.com

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