Raunchy Done Well… Again – “The Interview” Review

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Seth Rogen and James Franco once again team up in a bromantic over the top escalating situation in “The Interview.” The movie is the good kind of (or largely accepted as comedy kind of) misogyny, homophobia, racism, and crudeness.  To sum up the movie Seth Rogen plays Aaron, producer to James Franco’s TV personality Dave Skylark, who wants to be a more serious journalist and not just cover Hollywood gossip. Aaron and Skylark discover the leader of North Korea, Kim Jung-Un (Randall Park), is a fan of their show so they reach out for an interview. Kim agrees and news of the interview spreads across the media and everyone one is coming down on how bad Skylark is and how bad he will botch this interview. After celebrating the news, regardless of the “haters,” Aaron and Skylark are approached by Agent Lacey (Lizzy Caplan) of the CIA to assassinate Kim during their interview. Thanks to the “selective” clothing choices of Agent Lacy it was not hard to get Skylark to agree. They are then briefly trained before heading to North Korea to assassinate Kim Jung-Un. In North Korea they get an inside look of the country and have to determine what is real and fake. Skylark begins to bond with Kim and becomes torn between what he has seen, what he has been told, and his budding bromance. Skylark must make the choice to carry out the mission or to let Kim live during “The Interview.”

The movie was written by Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg, and Dan Sterling and follow their general formula of previous Rogen and Franco bromance movies. This isn’t a bad thing, especially for fans of previous films like “Pineapple Express” and “This is The End.” Rogen and Franco deliver another great straight man and lovable dufus who get in over their heads. I feel Franco over did it a little on some parts. Lizzy Caplan seems a bit under utilized, other than some good quips and reaction shots, her main contribution seems to be wearing glasses and a push up bra. Randall Park, as Kim Jung-Un, delivers an extremely likable and humanizing portrayal of one of the most hated men on the planet. Lastly, Diana Bang delivers a strong performance as a strong yet adorable high level official who sees the big picture.

What differs “The Interview” from previous films starring Rogen and Franco and written by Rogen and Goldberg, is how close the subject matter is to reality. It has a similar heir of critical perspective of a real world issue that Will Ferrel’s recent films have; films like  “The Other Guys,” “The Campaign,” and “Anchorman 2.” Yes it is over the top vulgar, crude, and raunchy like many of their films are, but this one doesn’t just tie it all together with bromance conquers everything. It actually has an ending that is not only critical of the media and North Korea, but America and its foreign policy. Bang’s character Sook has a line where she asks “When will America learn that killing a country’s leader is only a short term fix but changing how people perceive leadership will be lead to long term permanent change?” that can be applied to many events throughout recent American history. I would say the critical perspective is a lot less prominent than Ferrel’s movies and does not focus on it by lampooning it for the whole movie, but it is a refreshing new addition to the formula of dick jokes and bromance.

Many will likely complain about the “racist” dialogue, but I personally found it to showcase the character’s ignorance and stupidity rather than be hateful sayings. There is a line from Skylark talking to his new puppy about him taking him to America where he won’t be eaten, that line caused the entire theater to groan-laugh or go “aww-haha.”  The raunchy and rather controversial substance of the film is handled well and intertwined seamlessly with the crude and vulgar humor audiences have come to expect from these types of movies.

Overall, I enjoyed the film and believe any fans of Rogen and Franco’s previous team ups will do so as well. I prefer “The Interview” to “Pineapple Express” but have to say it falls far short from the utter joy of “This is The End.” The performances by the entire cast are solid, the raunchiness is crafted with class and artistry that is to be expected from Seth Rogen movies, and it seems the subject matter is expanding to not just be a comedy, but also help inspire some critical thought on world issues. Rogen and Golderberg continue to give fans what they want in their scripts, at the same time maturing the content. The biggest downside would have to be that the film does not feel new or different than the others. If you’re a fan of the actors or the writers, you will likely enjoy this film as well, but don’t expect anything new or ground breaking. “The Interview” opens in theaters December 25, 2014.

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