The Interview, an assassination comedy from Seth Rogan and Evan Goldberg, generated a significant amount of controversy in the weeks leading up to its planned Christmas 2014 release. An act of cyber-terrorism against Sony Pictures almost led to the picture not being released at all, which would have been no great loss to the art of moving pictures, but a serious compromise of the rights to free expression guaranteed by the First Amendment. Fortunately, Sony found a way to release the picture to select independent theaters and via streaming services online.
In the film, James Franco plays David Skylark, a vapid tabloid-TV host who lands an interview with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Recruited by the CIA to assassinate the dictator, Skylark and his producer Aaron Rappaport (Rogen) head to Pyongyang on their absurd mission. Although never subtle enough to rise to the level of actual satire, of either the American infotainment industry, the CIA or North Korea and its leader, the film does work hard to make its points between the self-indulgent banter that passes for dialogue. There are plenty of laughs to be had, though of course from Franco and Rogan they trend more toward the crude than the clever and the film as a whole is rather stupid. I doubt that the creators ever had any higher aspirations than to make a dumb comedy. If not for North Korea’s attention the whole thing probably would have faded into obscurity within a couple of weeks. The violence at the end is rather jarring, even for a film about an assassination, but overall, if you’re in the mood for stupid comedy with a side of controversy The Interview isn’t all that bad.