‘The Interview’ Undeserving of Hype


FFCC member Michelle F. Solomon reviews The Interview, the movie that Sony Pictures pulled after threats. The following is an excerpt from her review.

By Michelle F. Solomon

No more threatening than The Hangover and cut from the same cloth, the Seth Rogen-James Franco movie The Interview has become bigger than it deserves to be. The brouhaha started after the so-called Guardians of Peace launched a cyber attack at the end of November on Sony, the distributors of the movie, then threatened an attack on anyone who would go to see the movie in theaters. After some theater chains decided not to show it, Sony pulled the Christmas Day release of the film and released it via Video On Demand. North Korean officials have cited the movie as a blatant act of terrorism.

The fact that two nations and world leaders are having serious conversations about this film is more cause for alarm than any nuclear threat.

Like one big, long, “Saturday Night Live” skit, the movie about a television interviewer Dave Skylark (James Franco) and his producer-friend Aaron Rappaport (Seth Rogen; he also directed) who score an interview with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (Randall Park) is sophomoric at best. Its bro-com script is aimed at a demographic that will find an over-abundance of fart and butthole references appealing, will relate to Rogen saying the “f-word” five times in each line of dialogue, and will find a zoom in on Lizzy Caplan’s cleavage as she describes a CIA plot for the pair to kill Jong-un titillating.

There’s also plenty of gratuitous sex (when you’re the star and director of the movie as Rogen is, you can have your fantasies come true since they would be entirely farfetched in real life) and lots of point blank gun blasts, which are numerous and meant to create gross-out blood spattering.

Written by Dan Sterling, who got his start working on South Park and King of the Hill), based his screenplay on a story by Rogen. Rogen’s mentor is Judd Apatow, king of the universe of rowdy boys’ club movies (“Pineapple Express,” which also starred Franco and Rogen, Superbad, Knocked Up and 40 Year Old Virgin). So, you can imagine the core of this screenplay.

Rogen and Franco smirk, sneer and mug so much for the camera, there’s not even a pinch of believability to help sell this satire as anything that’s deserving of intellect.

There’s something menacing that creeps up while watching The Interview – a bit of irony, perhaps (I am going to use the word irony as loosely as it’s used in the dialogue in The Interview). Could this whole ruckus be part of a manipulation plot, an irony so to speak, about how everyone has bought into this media machine while we watch a movie about media manipulation?

The movie coins a phrase as Skylark and the movie version of Jong-un become bosom buddies, then discover each other’s truths. They’ve each been “honeypotted” (or they, of course, have a cruder term for it as the movie progresses), by the other, which refers to befriending someone and appealing to their softer side only to manipulate them in the end. Ironically, in the world of computers, a honey pot is a computer system on the Internet that is expressly set up to attract and “trap” people who attempt to penetrate other people’s computer systems. Guardians of Peace anyone?

The overarching message that’s come out of this holiday turkey is a matter of the First Amendment and free speech. And that’s a good conversation. Fellow moviegoers (or in this case home video watchers; I plunked down $5.99 to watch this via www.youtube.com/movies), exercise your right if you’d like, but think twice — you may feel like I did at the end of the 112 minutes. Bam! You’ve been honeypotted.

Comments are closed.