The Interview (Evan Goldberg & Seth Rogen, 2014)

Charismatic, vain and disinterested in the grand scheme of global politics, trash TV’s Dave Skylark (James Franco) is thrown for a loop when North Korea’s own Kim Jong-Un solicits his services for a world exclusive sit-down. With his loyal, semi-levelheaded producer Aron Rapoport (Seth Rogen) at his side, the two get to scheduling the opportunity of a lifetime to the best of their abilities. A wrench in the works soon manifests as the CIA’s desire to assassinate the infamous dictator, thus thrusting the duo into an escalating shit show of mammoth scale and potential repercussions.

Even as I consciously attempt to sidestep (inevitable) social commentary, it’s hard to deny The Interview‘s blatant irreverence in relation to the dire near-world crisis it spawned. It exists and partially thrives in the exact same realm of R-rated schlock the Rogen-Goldberg tag team is known for, this time opting to lace their perversions with a tinge of palpable controversy. For as weighty the issue of assassinating a famously reclusive and enigmatic supreme leader is, this semblance of substance is rendered benign in the wake of Katy Perry’s “Firework.”

The humor – albeit effective in the aforementioned vein – fails to elevate the proceedings above what we’ve experienced time and again. Gags run too long and feel like extended improvisational skits, of which are typically comprised of juvenility akin to mildly obscure pop culture references and dick jokes. In giving credit where it’s due, most of it lands as things proceed, falling flat when the exaggerated Un caricature is allotted more screen time than desired.

So, after all of the skepticism regarding the truth behind its nigh-nonexistence, it’s safe to say that The Interview is an ultimately harmless and familiar affair. From one Rogen-Goldberg endeavor to the next, we’re offered different scenarios peppered with similarly presented cliches, most of which are easily identifiable by those enamored with their brand of comedy. It’s characteristically foul-mouthed, silly and tawdry but, truth be told, it’s all in good fun as the proceedings do little to reinvent the wheel the creative team in question is partly responsible for.

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