Movies have long struck controversy. Recently, however, the movie that has struck up the most attention has been The Interview. The big project of Seth Rogen, in which he co-directed, wrote and acted, this movie has sparked more discussion than anyone expected. From being delayed, and later pulled from theaters, many wondered if we would ever see the film. It was then released online through many streaming networks, giving audiences the chance to see the film that had risen to nearly legendary status. Although it did well in the few theaters and in online rentals and purchases, it seems just as well that it was pulled from theaters.
The film has a simple premise. An entertainment news anchor and his producer work to become more serious, earning an interview with the dictator of North Korea. One would think that this could allow for many humorous moments, which it does. However, they’re not “laugh out loud” moments as much as “chuckle slightly to myself.” The movie reminded me of films made by young college students who come up with a great idea they feel is hilarious. They write it out in 2 days, and then work hard. The effects are cheesy, the acting’s sub-par since they got all their friends to do it, and the writing was rushed. However when the final product comes out, only they and their good friends think that it’s really that good. In this case, the really good friends are the fans of Seth Rogen. The only difference is, that this college level movie had a much higher budget.
The humor that does work for the interview is in the ridiculousness of it all. Many times it’s the lines and situations that don’t make sense, sometimes it’s the choice of pop song references. There was also much more violence than expected, with some truly gruesome moments that come unexpectedly. It doesn’t seem to know if it wants to be a serious film or a comedy, as it seems to ride the line. This works well for some movies, but it felt more indecisive than anything else in The Interview. There were lots of elements of the movie that were close to being good, but they just fell short. Though this movie made tens of millions of dollars in online rentals and purchases, it’s doubtful if it would have made that much in theaters if it hadn’t been for the attempts to shut it down.
Those who are fans of Rogens work, will no doubt enjoy his latest piece. If you’re not familiar with his work, you should see it if only because it’s so easy to get access to. If you’re not a fan however, then this movie is not likely to change your mind. While the movie is below average, it’s worth watching merely because it has become a footnote of cinema history, even if not on its own merits.