The Interview (2014)

The Interview (2014)
  • Time: 112 min
  • Genre: Action | Comedy
  • Directors: Evan Goldberg, Seth Rogen
  • Cast: James Franco, Seth Rogen, Randall Park


In the action-comedy The Interview, Dave Skylark (James Franco) and his producer Aaron Rapoport (Seth Rogen) run the popular celebrity tabloid TV show “Skylark Tonight.” When they discover that North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un is a fan of the show, they land an interview with him in an attempt to legitimize themselves as journalists. As Dave and Aaron prepare to travel to Pyongyang, their plans change when the CIA recruits them, perhaps the two least-qualified men imaginable, to assassinate Kim Jong-un.


  • The Interview runs 112 minutes; most of it is unfunny. There is simply no way the film merits that much of the viewer’s time.

    Yet let’s take a moment to give credit where credit is due. Its root concept is ballsy, there’s no getting around it. The Interview is a ringing endorsement for the humiliation and assassination of a currently seated world leader. This is no wish fulfillment fantasy like Homeland or 24 where the big bads are thinly veiled fictions. Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds may have offed Hitler but that dictator has long been dead and prodigiously pilloried. Even during Hitler’s lifetime when Charlie Chaplin’s The Great Dictator satirised his politics, the character was named Adenoid Hynkel. Seth Rogen and his collaborators Dan Sterling and Evan Goldberg unashamedly name North Korea’s Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un and proceed to dismantle his self-mythologising with a barrage of laughs. The problem is, unlike The Great Dictator or other films of its ilk (To Be Or Not To Be, The Producers, Dr. Strangelove), The Interview is neither very funny nor particularly stinging in its rebuke of its target.

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  • Watch it and you’ll see how amazing it is. Fantastic. I hope everyone will have the pleasure. While other critics maybe slamming it, I do encourage everyone go out and watch it. No spoilers in this review, I can promise you that. It’s a silly premise, but when have these two (Rogen and Franco) not made a silly movie?! You can easily see, in the commercial, it’s nothing but laughs! Please keep in mind it is a rate R movie, for for pervasive language, crude and sexual humor, nudity, some drug use and bloody violence. But it’s a Franco/Rogen movie, what else do you come to expect! I think those are selling points more than negatives. What is this movie you may ask, well it’s about two guys Dave (Franco) and Aaron (Rogen), as host and producer for a late night gossip celeb show. Kim Jong-un happens to be a fan of the show, so they get invite to Korea for an exclusive interview. The comedy begins when Dave and Aaron prepare to travel to Pyongyang, their plans change when the CIA recruits them, perhaps the two least-qualified men imaginable, to assassinate Kim Jong-un. Simple, but ridiculous premise! HA!

  • Any publicity is a good publicity and this saying is never more valid as in case of the comedy that intensified the cyberwar between North Korea and USA and SONY which has been the target of the initial hacker attack . “The Interview” has been elevated to the rank of the national security threat not being able to be played in the cinemas only online. However it’s been released in select cinemas from Christmas and it can be also viewed on youtube for a fee. It almost looks like SONY wanted to try to market different way of delivering film product to it’s viewer and was able to afford it with the production costs on “The Interview” were estimated as about $44 Million and created this as publicity scheme. Deduct the salaries of the stars Rogen $8.4 Mil and Franco 6.5 Mil then the actual budget does not seems so big.

    In movies everything comes down to the writhing. If the script is funny and witty you might have a chance that with the right people behind it, it will not get screwed up. With comedy it also all comes down to the taste of the person who wrote the script, as well as the director and of course the main stars. Judging from their previous movies most people know what to expect from duo Seth Rogen and James Franco by now. They might not have the most sophisticated comedic tastes. Let’s just say their comedic IQ is quite primitive, more of a stoner, fart in your face with homo erotic undertone to it. Now if that is your cup of tea, so to speak, then you might have fun through this very mediocre film that without all the publicity, would just crumble to the rightful place in the oblivion of all other funnier and more tasteful comedic choices this Christmas. I am not saying that you will not laugh during watching it, all I am saying is that for all the hype around it, this is not work of the comedic genius, that needs to be clear. Here is the synopsis:

    “Dave Skylark (James Franco) and his producer Aaron Rapoport (Seth Rogen) are the team behind the popular tabloid-TV show “Skylark Tonight.” After learning that North Korea’s Kim Jong Un (Randall Park) is a huge fan of the show, they successfully set up an interview with him, hoping to legitimize themselves as actual journalists. However, as Dave and Aaron prepare for their journey to Pyongyang, the CIA steps in, recruits them, and assigns them an incredible mission: Assassinate the dictator.”

    I really wanted to like “The Interview” and lets be clear it is not that I didn’t like it so much, it is just that the expectations from all the publicity that makes you want to watch it just to have your own personal victory over cyber terror organizations, etc. The fact is that the are some funny out loud moments and on-screen Rogen and Franco have a lot of chemistry together. They have a very good timing in their scenes, though the taste of the gags have something to be desired. It is obvious that there could have been so much more depth here specially considering the topic but as I mentioned before those two have already specific comedic thing going on and if you are above 15 years old and indulge in “Pineapple Express”, if you know what I mean, you might not think that this film was worth all the hustle. If you are expecting to see type of comedic historical event like Charlie Chaplin’s “The Great Dictator” (1940) where he played Hitler which created large publicity at the time of WWII which actually deliver on its promise, “The Interview” on the other hand did not… Enjoy it for what it is and after you’ve seen it maybe you will come to the same conclusion that North Korea was trying to do us a favor and save us from this not always successful execution of what was suppose to be an enjoyable comedic ride.
    (**1/2 of 5)

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  • I don’t think this movie really needs an introduction, but i’ll give one anyway. The movie that has been the center of controversy is finally out. A movie that has been the reason for numerous hack attacks on Sony, A movie which we weren’t even gonna see until two days ago, A movie over which everyone from Obama to George Clooney has had something to say about. As you now i’m talking about ‘The Interview’, the new film from the guys who brought you ‘This Is the End’. I think it’s great that Sony finally decided to stand up and after being scared for sometime and say we aren’t going to stand for this. The Interview was finally released today in 200 independent cinemas across the U.S and many online sites like Crackle, YouTube, Google Play also making it the first studio film to be premiere online.

    Directed by: Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen and written by Goldberg, Rogen and Dan Sterling, ‘The Interview’ tells the story of Dave Skylark (James Franco) and his producer Aaron Rapaport (Rogen) who run a celebrity tabloid show ‘Skylark Tonight’ which specializes in unearthing celebrity secrets, In a desperate attempt to attain credibility as journalists Skylark scores an interview with Kim Jung Un, the supreme leader of North Korea. As Dave and Aaron prepare for the trip they are recruited by the CIA to turn the interview into an assassination mission. Starring: James Franco, Seth Rogen, Lizzy Caplan and Randall Park, The Interview is an alright, not so good, not so bad movie that does best when it has it’s two leads Franco and Rogen on-screen. The Interview goes for gross-out humor and for better or worse goes through with it. The chemistry between Franco and Rogen is excellent and Lizzy Caplan and Randall Park are both good in their supporting roles. Park in particular is pretty funny as Kim Jung Un. Cameo appearances from people like Eminem and Rob Lowe are also quite hilarious

    Part political satire, part action comedy, The Interview is as outrageous as you expect it to be, sadly it only feels like a half-good movie. The Interview lacks the one thing it should not. Comedy. The whimsy script does well with the political satire but is not as funny as it should be with the jokes only working half the time. It’s a disappointment considering this is from Rogen and Goldberg, the same guys behind ‘This Is the End’, and that was hilarious.

    All in all, The Interview is an okay movie that should have been more funny than it actually is. Ultimately the film fails to match it’s ambitious and bold plot. Is it worth the controversy? probably yes. It’s definitely racist. But at the end of the day it’s just a movie.

    Final Score: 6.6/10

    -Khalid Rafi

  • This film is not recommended.

    The Interview carries with it enough notoriety that would have placed any routine film in the hall of shame. But this particular film, besides being one of the worst films of 2014, was also the most controversial film of the year. (The far-reaching impact of this film started a barrage of headlines involving censorship, international computer hacking, political fallout, and corporate cowardice by Sony for initially pulling the film from movie theaters before finally releasing it online and still making a profit.)

    Now Seth Rogen and James Franco make some funny and raunchy films. This isn’t one, The sophomoric raunch is there, but the laughs are woefully missing in their latest misadventure. The film’s wrong-headed premise, which is more offensive and satirical, involves the fictional assassination of real life dictator, Kim Jong-un. Not quite a laugh riot from the outset.  

    The inane plot involves two doofuses, handsome Dave Skylark and his producer pal, Aaron Rapaport becoming spies for our government. Both work on a tabloid television entertainment program and are called to duty when they are set to interview the Korean leader,. Asked to “take him out” by the CIA, they bungle their way from one mishap after the next.

    The dim-witted screenplay by Dan Sterling is filled with absurd situations that never build to anything remotely funny, with non-stop profanity to help pad the film’s excessive length. The direction by the tag-team of Evan Goldberg and Mr. Rogen is non-existent. The slapstick is labored, the racial stereotypes frequent and silly, the homophobic humor is appalling, and the jokes are desperately unfunny. (Some examples to prove my point: “He does not have a butthole…he has no need for one.”/ “We don’t have a better plan, you’re going to have to stick it up your ass.” / “Haters gonna hate, and ain’ters gonna ain’t!” ) Pleeze!

    Rogen plays the same inept character he has played countless times before and Franco carries his snarking mugging to new heights. Both actors play their roles charmlessly. Only Randall Park as the targeted Korean dictator has some diverting moments. Sporadically amusing faux interviews with celebrities like Rob Lowe, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Eminem are sprinkled throughout the film in order to spoof their real life personas.

    The film’s hyper climax becomes brutally violent and bereft of any humor. It also makes no logical sense, but neither did the entire movie concept. How Sony ever green-lit this mess is the real major crime inflicted on a nation (or two).

    Yes, the Koreans had the right idea to object to this dumb film, but not for political reasons for which they so vigorously protested. Most American moviegoers would have solely agreed with them, due to the film’s lack of wit and general bad taste. However, if you like movies about boorish Koreans, blatant sex gags, and plenty of anal humor, by all means, see this film. The stupidity of The Interview just left me totally speechless at its sheer awfulness. It did not deserve the hoopla or a release date. GRADE: D

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  • I watched this movie expecting a lot because of the hype behind it, being banned and all. But sadly it didn’t live up to my expectations. Mind you, there were some pretty funny parts throughout, but nothing that was gut-busting hilarious. I gave this film a 7/10 because it had a decent plot, and some things were unexpected such as Kim Jong Un’s behaviour, which was way out of my prediction of his character.
    James Franco’s character was also enjoyable to watch because he was so energetic, and oddly right a lot of the time.

    The film didn’t rank any higher or meet my expectations because as stated above, there were no “gut-busting” funny moments and some parts were pretty corny to me as well.

    Seth Rogen also played his usual comedic role in my opinion. To me, it was just another mediocre Seth Rogen comedy.

  • The film that nearly never was, The Interview follows Dave Skylark, played by James Franco (Homefront) and his producer Aaron Rapoport, played by Seth Rogan (Bad Neighbours) who travel to North Korea to interview Kim Jong-Un. All the while being secretly recruited by the CIA to assassinate Jong-Un. This is what you call clever marketing, while all the threats were real, lets face facts, who really cared about The Interview before it was ‘cancelled’?

    On a personal note, I deem this film to be in very poor taste and I’ve made that very clear on social networks, no matter how evil the person is, to make a film about killing said person without their consent is just wrong. I get we should have freedom of speech, but there should be unspoken limits, which I believe…
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  • Do you think maybe Kim Jong-Un doesn’t have a Canadian sense of humour?
    Even though this is a Sony production (American film made for a Japanese company) it’s a primarily Canadian satire. Seth Rogan wrote the story and stars (as Aaron Rapaport) and it was filmed in B.C. But more importantly, its targets are not just the North Korean dictator but American culture, in all its naive simplicity. Canadian comedy is especially tuned to its southern neighbour’s follies — it has to be or it would be swamped.
    Indeed the satire of Kim Jong-Un is the minor aspect. True, the dictator has his godly pretence deflated, in scatalogical terms, but also in his sentimentalizing. Interviewer Dave Skylark (James Franco) destroys him by bringing him to public tears with memories of their demanding fathers and — what else? — a Katy Perry song about some windbag. Kim finds her music “empowering.” Though the film alludes to the North Korean peoples’ suffering and its brutal, self-indulgent dictator and though its climax does (spoiler alert) blow him up, the political substance stays at the level of an X-rated Mad magazine. It’s played for laughs not realistic political discourse.
    The bulk of the satire is against the American attitude towards politics and entertainment. The Skylark show takes pride in its success at providing what its audience wants. If Rob Lowe admits to baldness, have him on to remove his wig. Have everyone irate when Lowe’s confession is cut off in favour of a story about the threat of nuclear attack. If Matthew McConaughey has been shot having sex with a goat, “Get that goat. I have some questions for that goat” — as well as the star. The film shows American journalism run like the shallow entertainment industry—pandering to the lowest.
    Rogan’s basic joke is that this film does too. However funny the lines, they express a laddish, puerile titillation. Political strategy is limited to honey potting and dicking. The show’s first great success is having Eminem admit to being gay — a surprise despite his admitted “breadcrumbs” trail of clues in bis lyrics. Our unlikely heroes have the familiar Starsky and Hutch — back to Tom and Huck Finn — barely unadmitted bromance, and are given improbable hetero sex scenes to prove they’re straight as a bow. Sorry, arrow. Hence all the butt-hole jokes, including the stash of the CIA ’s back-up missile. The guest appearance of real TV news figures confirms the reduction of news to entertainment.
    Franco is especially effective as the personification of the ignorance in American journalism. He’s all the Fox bimbos rolled into one. He thinks Stalin is Stallone. Despite his film-sense he doesn’t understand the CIA’s intention to “take him out.” In his stupidity he’s helpless before the dictator’s palsy manipulation. But the film manipulates its audience the same way, with cheap sentimentality. Especially all his folksiness and American allusions, when the dictator gives Skylark a puppy he wins us over too.
    Kim Jong-Un has probably not received a more sympathetic representation in the West because the film plays him as a helplessly sentimental chap. He enjoys American entertainers and is up on the lingo. “I have no comment on Margaritas.” His rage and nuclear threat lose our sympathy but the film’s point is how easily we can be swayed by such cheap and ready emotion. That’s standard practice in US politics. Gift puppy Digby recalls Dick Nixon’s infamous dog Checkers and wife Pat’s cloth coat. The film’s target is our dumb politics, making us such easy dupes, rather than that particular dictator.
    The climactic action scenes also send up the American film audience’s expectations. For Skylark, “Kim must die. It’s the American way.” But the North Korean heroine prefers a systemic change over that one man’s death. The ridiculous plot Skylark initially proposes — a surprise arrival of a SEALS squad with an inflatable motor boat — finally happens. Before that Rapaport and an enemy bite off each other’s fingers (digital manipulation?) and particular attention is paid to a tank squashing the soldiers in a jeep. The slow-mo rocket en route to Kim’s helicopter points to the aestheticizing of violence in American films since the balletic shoot-up that closed Bonnie and Clyde.
    The film opens on a sweet little North Korean girl innocently singing a scabrous attack on America (“Die America, please die”). That introduces the military use of sentimentality. Skylark’s tagline — “They hate us cuz they ain’t us” — works both ways. As the dictator admits and the film proves, words can be more violent than weaponry. In emphasizing the Americans’ devotion to ignorance and cheap emotion the satire ranges beyond the putative target of North Korea to include America.
    And what of the international politicizing of the film? Sony should have known what it was risking by identifying the North Korean dictator so clearly, instead of fictionalizing him like Chaplin’s Adolf Hinkle in The Great Dictator. Once committed to the project it covered itself in shame by however briefly aborting its release. Rogan and Franco emerge as very effective comic actors. Too bad Kim Jong-Un couldn’t just sit back and enjoy the film over his Chivas Regal, caviar and Havanas, secure that his citizens won’t be spoiled by such pleasures. Instead his thin skin and — so far — empty threats only deflate his power image further. For that relief much thanks. For more analyses see

  • The celebrated bromance between actors Seth Rogen and James Franco parlays itself into a fifth movie with 2014’s The Interview. And with this thing being screened in only about four to five theaters via the entire state of Illinois, I was lucky enough to be twenty minutes away from one of them in Chicagoland’s own Buffalo Grove. So what did I witness? Well, from what was expected, The Interview had “so stupid, it’s funny” written all over it (the vibe is decidedly more stupid than funny though). What I didn’t expect was its gratuitous violence that came off as comical to the audience I sat with. A person’s head explodes, someone’s brain matter is splattered all over people’s clothes, fingers are bitten off, and one of the main characters actually puts a missile up his buttocks (not violent but indeed gratuitous and just flat-out nasty). “Interview’s” queasy bloodletting reminded me of some of the key sequences in Pulp Fiction. I researched the types of violent images that were featured in that Tarantino Academy Award winner and I found out that what was on screen was labeled hyper-real violence. The Interview towards its last half, had a lot of that going on.

    Now I can see why this borderline black comedy caused a lot of controversy upon its initial release. After all, its main plot point is about the killing of a real life supreme leader in Kim Jong-un. So just on a whim, I checked IMDb to make sure this vehicle wasn’t premiering in North Korea (anytime in the near future). Phew, what a relief. It wasn’t.

    Shot in Vancouver, British Columbia (masquerading as the most dangerous place on Earth), written by Dan Sterling (who’s screenplay pretty much allows the actors to say whatever they want), and featuring the caricature of Kim Jong-un coming off as a real nice guy (and sort of humble too), The Interview begins by following the lives of talk show host Dave Skylark (James Franco) and his cautioned producer Aaron Rapoport (played by Seth Rogen who once again possesses a garbled way of delivering lines and a really goofy laugh). They are part of a TV show titled Skylark Tonight and it has successfully reached its 1000th episode. But wait, Rapoport is upset that the show is perceived as trashy and not really newsworthy. The solution: Set up a televised interview with Kim Jong-un, the supreme leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. This will give Skylark Tonight a chance to be in a more political circle as opposed to just having the host interview Uber-esque celebrities. Oh and it gets better. Skylark and Rapoport get contacted by the CIA and along with getting said interview in the doldrums of N. Korea, have to assassinate Jong-un by way of shaking his hand with a poisoned band aid. Talk about blurring the lines of proper etiquette.

    Anyway, the bulk of The Interview has star Seth Rogen playing straight man to his best bud Franco. And James Franco’s performance literally suggests that he’s “cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs”. His Dave Skylark is a successful wild man and Franco portrays him with the energy of a long- tailed baboon on an all night cocaine binge. There’s also Lizzy Caplan who’s cute as a button playing CIA agent Lacey. And of course there’s Randall Park who really encapsulates the nastily-perceived Kim Jong-un. His character in “Interview” likes the music of Katy Perry, playing one on one basketball, and singing Karaoke. Park, with his blubber physique and deadpan hair cut, makes Jong Un come off as pretty likable to say the least. Finally, there’s Rogen who along with serving as one of “Interview’s” two directors (the other being Evan Goldberg), basically plays himself for the umpteenth time. In fact, he does it so often these days that I’ve gotten to the point where I’ve just resorted to labeling him a huskier, yet shorter version of Vince Vaughn. Granted, “Interview” isn’t really a quote unquote, “Rogen stoner flick”. But it’s still Seth Rogen being Seth Rogen and that truly grates on you after a while.

    Oh and did I forget to mention the cameos that accompany these star actors? Well there are a few of them and they share some pretty faux revelations (just think Neil Patrick Harris playing a straight guy in the Harold and Kumar movies and you’ll know what I’m talking about). Eminem on Franco’s character’s show admits that he’s gay, Rob Lowe on the same show reveals to the nation that he’s almost totally bald, Joseph Gordon-Levitt goes on Skylark Tonight and lets everyone know that he has a fetish for cats, and this isn’t a cameo but a news story in “Interview” reveals that Matthew McConaughey is caught having sex with a goat. That’s an image better left out of sight and out of mind (totally).

    In conclusion, everyone who worked on The Interview probably handled it as if it was one big joke. These proceedings don’t take themselves seriously and neither should you. If you’ve seen something along the lines of Stripes or a raunchier, R-rated version of 1985’s Spies Like Us, well this is what you’re in for. “Interview” with its 112 minute running time, is sloppy, not well prepared, and doesn’t ask a lot of intelligent questions (kind of like a real life bad interview). But it has a few laughs and a sumptuous look (Canada really appears to pass in scenery as North Korea, impressive) even though it’s clearly a juvenile, comedic romp. My rating: A mixed 2 and a half stars. The Interview’s Achilles’ heel is that it’s rushed and not silent enough (sadly, these are even more characteristics of a real life bad interview. Natch!).

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