“Do not fight the tiger. You will lose”
Last year, Seth Rogen and Even Goldberg made a movie that made me laugh probably more than any other movie of 2013. This is the End could have crumbled under its own weight of meta, inside jokes. Rogen and his famous friends could have disappeared up their own asses as they played heightened versions of themselves. But somehow, Rogen and Goldberg pulled it off. They made themselves and their famous friends the butt of the jokes and those jokes were hilarious. All of that is to say This is the End had the advantage of my low expectations. But now, with that under their belt, I really wanted and expected The Interview to be good.
Dave Skylark (James Franco) hosts a sensational news interview show where he serves up puffy or baited questions to people like Eminem and Rob Lowe, so they can come out as gay and bald respectively. His Executive Producer Aaron Rappaport (Rogen), wants to do legitimate news. When they find out that North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un (Randall Park) is a fan of their show, they think it is the key to what they both want, mammoth ratings for Dave, journalistic respect for Aaron. They make a call, and after a clandestine meeting in remote China, the interview is a go.
Enter the CIA, personified by Lizzy Caplan as Agent Lacey. This kind of access to the North Korean leader has never been granted before, and the US government sees it as their only opportunity to take him out. Now, Dave and Aaron are on their way to get their interview, and poison their subject. The only problem is, Un turns out to be the kind of bro Dave can really relate to, and even befriend.
The Interview is funny. It made me laugh out loud more than few times. And it’s thanks to the chemistry of Rogen and Franco. Their real life friendship makes them able to bounce off each other amazingly well and their pop culture heavy references work because of that chemistry. Randall Park is perfect as Un, sometimes adorable, sometimes maniacal, sometimes vulnerable, sometimes tragic, always hilarious. And Lizzy Caplan really is the go to actor these days when you need a woman to be sexy and toughly intimidating at the same time.
I can’t talk about The Interview without talking about the hacking scandal and the North Korean government’s attempts to bury this movie. Obviously, their plan failed, and now the movie will be seen by more people than it ever would have been without those protests. And those protests are so ill founded. Sure, it pulls a lot of piss out of Kim Jong Un and his government, but it equally attacks America, dumb Americans and the shitty state of what passes for news and journalism in that country these days. Like This is the End, Rogen and Goldberg know that the key to making these jokes, is to make themselves the butt. And in The Interview, America is the butt of just as many as North Korea and their nut bag leader.