Along with a shitload of otha suckas yesterday, I spent my Christmas afternoon watching the much hyped film “The Interview”. My assessment is not worth a lot of column inches because the movie is basically a worthless piece of trash that would have died a miserable death as a fleeting entertainment vehicle for short attention spanned 14 year-old stoners had it not been the subject of an international incident with North Korea. Yea, verily, North Korea gave Sony Pictures a great big boost by hacking the latter’s website and getting everybody involved from the FBI to the CIA to President Obama. Over this?
“The Interview” has no redeeming social value and little entertainment value for intelligent adults. Yeah, I know. It is supposed to be a comedy, so it doesn’t have to be plausible. But seriously, who among you who are over 21 years of age would have wasted your money on such an amalgamation of countless puerile pratfalls and adolescent gags if it weren’t for the hype? It was like “Dumb and Dumber Meets Kim Jong-Un,” only worse.
Our heroes are a producer and the star of a low-brow, tasteless celebrity TV news program who somehow manage to score an interview with the supreme leader of North Korea. The plot is compounded when the CIA catches wind of the proposed interview, engaging the two idiots, played by Seth Rogen and James Franco, to assassinate the Dear Leader. The primary CIA operative, Agent Lacey, is played by sexy Lizzie Caplan, who was Virginia Johnson in the TV series “Masters of Sex”; she and Randall Park, who plays Kim hilariously, might have been the only redeeming features of the film.
Of course, the duo is bound to screw up the assassination attempt — several times, in fact — but while they are busy demonstrating their predictable incompetence Kim is plotting to blow up the United States. To gain the unwitting dumbasses’ complicity in presenting his benevolent greatness, Kim erects the façade of a basketball playing, womanizing, car collecting, Katy Perry loving regular guy who “honey-dicks” our entertainment host hero, Dave Skylark (Franco), into believing that the Dear Leader is cool and North Korea is not evil. The culmination of the honey-dicking was Kim’s gift of a puppy that brought back memories of a childhood pet. With Skylark on his side, and his senior propagandist Sook, played by the talented and funny Diana Bang, ready at the kill switch, the interview will serve as a pro-Korea, anti-US propaganda tool.
Or will it? While Kim is “honey-dicking” Skylark, Sook is “honey-potting” his producer, Aaron Rapaport (Rogen), in his room at the Supreme Leader’s palace. But there’s a twist. She concedes that she hates Kim and convinces Rapaport that assassinating him would only make him a martyr with the people, and he would be replaced quickly by one of his brothers. (Apparently, we are supposed to believe that the CIA is comprised of a bunch of idiots who couldn’t figure this out themselves when concocting the assassination by asses plot.) No, there was a better way: A hardball interview by the dumbass, aired to the world, exposing the atrocities of the Kim regime, during which Sook promises to keep her mitts off the kill switch. But how to get the Skylark moron on board with this?
Honey-dicked as he was, Skylark can’t be counted on to conduct anything but a softball, Kim-aggrandizing interview. But on the eve of the fated interview he wanders out into the streets of Pyongyang and discovers buy 1 mg finasteride that the bountiful grocery store with the fat kid standing out front which Kim had shown “the American idiot” from his limousine is a fake. It sort of dawned on him then that maybe Kim had been feeding him bullshit. And thus, after a softball start just to keep us in momentary suspense (not too long, considering the anticipated attention span of the audience) about whether Skylark has the gumption to pull off the hard-line, he bravely shifts the interview into a cross-examination about how Kim permits rampant hunger and starvation among the Korean people while he spends most of the national treasury building nukes to torch the USA.
This, of course, angers Kim and his henchmen. They’re onto Sook now and they charge the broadcast booth. Aaron and Sook are surrounded and hopelessly trapped there, or so we’re led to believe. But oh hayl no! The propaganda mistress has a full-blooded Rambo (Lambo) streak in her. In her best American stoner street vernacular, she intones, “Let’s get the fuck out of here!”, grabs a .50 caliber machine gun, and, naturally, they have to shoot their way out while in the meanwhile, Kim is issuing a nuclear launch order.
Commandeering Kim’s favorite Soviet tank, the trio of Rapaport, Skylark, and Sook plus puppy make their way to an escape tunnel that leads to the coast, blowing up, incinerating, or crushing everything in their path. Yes, that would include Kim himself. The two idiots and their intellectual equal, the puppy, are miraculously rescued by U.S. Navy Seal Team Six, but Sook decides that she will stay in Korea to build a new democratic republic where people can vote and eat.
I understand that none of this is meant to be believable. That’s fine, even if they do eat dogs in North Korea. Surely, there’s room for fantasy and humor in all of our lives; however, I’m growing weary of what passes for comedy these days in Hollywood. There is no depth and the mechanisms for generating laughs are crudely adolescent.
For this turkey, the funniest part of the film was the opening, which featured a cute, smartly dressed, pre-adolescent Korean girl singing a anti-American anthem in a sweet, juvenile voice in her native tongue from the focal point of an assemblage of North Korean political and military apparatchiks while we, the mostly non-Korean speaking audience, were treated to a hilariously sub-titled translation. The contrast between the sweet little girl’s smiling demeanor and her harsh words provided more belly laughs than did the two dumbass main characters in the remaining 110 minutes.
While this movie certainly did nothing to improve international relations, it also did nothing redeeming for Sony Pictures or for Hollywood in general. In the sportscasters’ vernacular: If I’m North Korea, I’m barely able to contain my laughter — this film is a better vehicle for anti-US propaganda than anything I could muster, cyber-, ballistic, or otherwise; it makes Americans look like complete idiots. It is plausible that North Korea did its hacking job on Sony Pictures just to pump up the demand for this piece of shit that would have otherwise lain dormant in a can in Sony’s film vault so as to show the world the US at its self-described stupidest. North Korea didn’t really have to try to damage the United States or Sony Pictures — this ridiculous film does that all by itself.
Michael Geldner says
I watched it too. I agree with the Turkey’s assessment. The movie would have died at the box office without the controversy.
It makes me wonder…
The Nittany Turkey says
Still, I’ll love to see the box office receipts for this limited release. Sony is making a bundle on what should have gone straight into the can. Perhaps they should donate their copious profits toward combating hunger in North Korea (through the Red Cross or something, not through Kim).
Thinking back, I guess I was impelled to see “Deep Throat” back in 1972 just because of all the notoriety it generated, although it probably was more memorable than this trash will ever be.
The Nittany Turkey says
According to Variety, “The Interview” has earned $15 million online through Saturday. It also earned nearly $3 million in theaters.
It’s been downloaded or rented over two million times.
Sony’s original budget, which called for a Christmas Day release to 3,000 screens, expected a $20 million opening gross. Its limited release to only 331 arthouse and independent theaters, along with the online release, seems to have reached that bogey.
The film cost roughly $75 million to produce and market.