Any publicity is good publicity, and I’m starting to realize that Sony Pictures Entertainment might be marketing geniuses. The Interview, a satirical comedy about two American journalists who travel to North Korea to assassinate Kim Jong-un, was originally slated for a Christmas Day opening. However, Sony pulled the plug on distributing the movie after North Korea hacked Sony and threatened retaliation to movie goers. At the time, Sony remained quiet on whether they would ever distribute the movie.
Immediately after the cancellation news, there was public outcry as people from George Clooney to President Obama condemned the move, arguing that non-specific threats shouldn’t be the cause for censorship of free speech in America. To Sony, some very good things were coming out of the original setback. From mysterious hackings that downed North Korea’s Internet to tons of media coverage on the movie, it was apparent they were given an opportunity of a lifetime.
Lo and behold, a day before Christmas, Sony made the movie available to the public by releasing it simultaneously on streaming sites and in select movie theaters around the country. For the first time, viewers could choose whether they wanted to rent, buy, or watch the movie on the big screen. Patriotic and curious movie watchers will likely give the movie a much better opening weekend despite its limited release.
Now that I think about it, the story surrounding the movie is way more interesting than the movie itself. Maybe Seth Rogen will take these events and make a movie about it sometime in the future. That would be meta.
By now you’re probably curious how the movie stacks up (this is a review of the movie, after all). I’d say overall, The Interview was a fun and wacky movie with some hilarious parts. If you’ve seen comedies such as This Is the End or Pineapple Express, you’ll notice a similar flavor.
The story centers around a TV show host (James Franco) and his best friend and producer (Seth Rogen) who have the chance of a lifetime to travel to North Korea to interview Kim Jong-un, who’s a huge fan of their show. The CIA sees this as a perfect avenue to assassinate the Supreme Leader and recruit the two on this mission, not knowing that these two “journalists” are also incompetent when it comes to pretty much anything requiring smarts and finesse.
It’s pretty obvious that Franco and Rogen had a blast making this movie, and a lot of the scenes seem ad-libbed and well improvised. The supporting cast was surprisingly great, too. From Randall Park as a manipulative but misunderstood Kim Jong-un to Diana Bang as the bombshell North Korean officer, the actors and actresses were all hilarious and added to the absurdity of the movie.
And at the end of the day, the movie is absurd, mainly because it’s first and foremost a slapstick comedy that doubles as a work of satire. Is it a funny and good movie? Definitely. Will it be considered a great and memorable movie that will last through the years? I wouldn’t say so, at least not without the surrounding controversy bolstering it. But I had a fun time and definitely laughed out loud, and I think that was the original intent of the movie. All that’s left now is the sequel/documentary Making The Interview. I’ll be looking forward to that one.