Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Yes, Virginia, it's really not good

The Interview now can be seen -- but should it be?
For a few minutes, I thought some of the critics I respect might have been wrong about The Interview, which I watched as soon as it became available on-line Wednesday. Sure, it's ridiculous, but for 15 or so minutes, it's also rudely funny. But silliness soon gives way to a plot that sends an annoyingly hammy James Franco and straight man Seth Rogen to North Korea for an assassination attempt arranged by the CIA. Once the plot kicks in, the movie gets progressively worse, building toward an action-oriented finale that goes way over the top, leaving a long trail of anus jokes in its foul wake. Seeing The Interview makes you realize that the absurd story that has surrounded it -- a purported North Korean hack of SONY, withdrawal of the movie and its reappearance in independent theaters and on-line -- has more satiric potential than the movie itself. Yes, Franco's Dave Skylark and Rogen's Aaron Rapaport -- a couple of tabloid TV types -- succeed in killing Kim Jung-un (Randall Park). But Rogen and co-director Evan Goldberg, who find ways to spray lots of blood around, also manage to murder any good will we might have felt toward this comedy in its very early going. I'm glad SONY released the movie and allowed the mystery surrounding it to evaporate, but if this is the best we can do for a free-speech issue, I'd say we're in trouble.

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