For all of the bizarre, unprecedented attention it received, The Interview is pretty much exactly what you would expect it to be (not that any of its coverage could have changed that fact).
That’s not to say it didn’t have the opportunity to become a classic comedy, because it certainly did, and in different hands, it might have done just that. Instead, The Interview is a typical Seth Rogen-James Franco movie, which means there are a litany of dick, fart, sex and poop jokes crammed into a plot that only exists to further along many more dick, fart, sex and poop jokes.
But that doesn’t mean The Interview is a bad movie; it has plenty of great lines and funny scenes. It also has a few pretty rough stretches. About halfway through, it loses a lot of steam as it figures out how to get to its inevitable conclusion, and Franco’s character can pretty easily get on your nerves as he becomes even more of a focal point.
The familiar elements of this movie, while proving to be strong points at times, also hinder it. The Interview was the perfect opportunity for Rogen and Franco to branch out beyond the subgenre of functioning druggies being placed in extraordinary circumstances. This didn’t have to be a dick joke movie, and really shouldn’t have been, but the filmmakers didn’t want to necessarily take it in that direction, and that’s fine, too.
Everybody is allowed to have a schtick, and I’m really not tired or annoyed by the combined schtick of Rogen and Franco. It does get in the way of certain parts of this one, though. To operate in Hollywood with a very particular style in everything you do, especially in comedy, you have to expect that some attempts to shoehorn it into any plot will fail occasionally. For Rogen, it’s certainly been evident before with The Green Hornet. Franco’s style is to be an all-encompassing enigma, and that too has failed at times. But I very much enjoy almost everything these guys do, and even The Interview finds ways to separate itself from the pack, especially towards the end.
Once the wheels for the climax are set in motion, and the movie gets to flex its creative muscles afforded by its unique plot, it really becomes fun again. Best of all, the final third of the movie further proves that Rogen really has a strong handle on how to direct action scenes (which were, to me, the best parts of This is The End). The best thing to come out of The Interview might actually be my desire to see him take on an even more action-oriented film sometime.
Good comedies are increasingly hard to find, especially R-rated comedies that don’t pander to the audience or fall completely flat from being generally shitty from the get-go. The Interview, while staying safe in some respects, swings for the fences pretty hard in many others and that should be applauded. The circumstances surrounding the movie’s non-release probably was the best thing that could have happened to it, because something tells me it would have bombed at the box office. Luckily, though, it’ll carve out a nice little life as a cult movie and trivia footnote. It at least deserves that much recognition.
And, oh yeah, it was just nice to be able to see it in the first place.