UPDATED 5:30 AM Christmas morning, adding more information:
The Interview isn’t the worst movie ever made. It’s not even the worst movie Sony released this holiday season.
To: Amy/So how far do we let the boys go with the Kim-has-no-butthole business??//ml
To: Michael/I don’t know, six jokes max? The test auds loved it! did you remember to get the rights to that katy perry song?//ap
To: Amy/Sheesh, Ames, I totally forgot, glad you reminded me, gosh we could have been in some hot water! Hey! And don’t forget to congratulate Dan Sterling on writing in that awesome are-margaritas-gay? business — it’s so fresh!//ml
To: Michael: Actually James and Seth came up with that. They made a bet over who could top the bit about Eminem being queer. I mean gay! Gay!//ap
Well, I don’t remember being enlightened by any stolen Sony e-mails on the subject of The Interview, though I imagine they were along these lines. It’s an awfully stupid movie, and by stupid, I don’t mean good-stupid, the kind that makes you laugh so hard you forget to be embarrassed. The Interview is so drenched in flop sweat that anyone seeing it for reasons of patriotism should be saluted.
Here are James Franco as Dave Skylark, a cheerfully oleaginous moron of a talk-show host (so original, that idea!) and Seth Rogen as Aaron Rappaport, his friend and producer given to orgasmic huzzahs in the control room when Eminem (in a terrific cameo) comes out of the closet (“This is like Spike Lee just said he’s white!”), or Rob Lowe reveals he’s bald (ditto) or Joseph Gordon-Levitt reveals he’s Joseph Gordon-Levitt (ditto again). When they learn that their show is a favorite of Kim Jong-un (Randall Park), they wangle a live interview, prompting a CIA team lead by Agent Lacey (Masters of Sex‘s Lizzy Caplan) to recruit them to take him out.
Arriving in Pyongyang, Aaron and Dave are treated to a sugar-coated view of North Korea and a full-on charm offensive (offensive, of course, being the operative word) that at first seduces Dave. For Aaron’s enjoyment there’s Sook (Diana Bang) as the Supreme Leader’s sexy chief flack. So we have a Hope & Crosby road movie as re-imagined by high school sophomores on a good bong night. Except nobody has to remember what happened the morning after a good bong night because, presumably, they haven’t spent $45 million on the weed.
Rogen and co-director Evan Goldberg let the film sag noticeably in the middle of its 112 minutes, as if they really had nothing more than two jokes and an exploding head to pitch. The film’s final third takes a sharp turn from the good-natured if crude slapstick comedy of these bumbling buddies to a drippy morality tale ginned up with some horror-film violence as Kim meets his fiery end (Spoiler? Like, where’ve you been the last few weeks?)
The Interview has the earmarks of a corporate concoction gone wildly awry. Jokes don’t land, scene shifts jerk us through the threadbare plot and only Bang, as the mouthpiece-turned-freedom-fighter seems to have had any fun. When the sage said it’s not the high ground democracy needs to protect, it’s the low-hanging fruit, The Interview is what he had in mind.