THE INTERVIEW (2014, Evan Goldberg & Seth Rogen)
Watching the events of this film unfold in the third act, I guess I can see why North Korea would be pretty pissed about it. But still, this is as much a critique of American culture and policy as it is one of dictatorial torture, so if anyone should be pissed it’s the CIA.
Credit to Goldberg & Rogen for identifying the troubling national urge to kill, when perhaps public shaming and consciousness-changing would have a greater effect. And the fact that this revelation comes courtesy of tabloid journalists is another bitter pill, because the film wastes no time ridiculing the idiocy, xenophobia, ignorance, and arrogance of TMZ culture. This aspect is underscored beautifully by James Franco in one of his best performances to date — he’s physically assured, gleeful with his dialogue, and vanity-free with his moronic, satirical character.
But enough about all this high-brow criticism. This is a comedy heavy on dick and butthole jokes — so is it funny? Yes, very. Maybe not as revelatory or unique as THIS IS THE END, but it’s close at times, and even though there are scattered bits of weird homophobia and sexism, most of it lands wonderfully, thanks in large part not just to Franco and Rogen but Randall Park as Kim. He relishes this bizarre characterization and avoids the superficial, stupid ways to make fun of the dictator you may expect (contrast this with Trey Parker’s obnoxious, despicably racist accent voicing Kim Jong-Il in TEAM AMERICA, or Margaret Cho’s one-note minstrel act in 30 ROCK). The Sony hacking, the threats, the Obama administration intervention, and the media hype surrounding all this may make this film seem more important than it is — but in 15 years this should still be on cable and will never not be funny.