With all the fanfare that's surrounded The Interview, it was obviously never going to be a film that had any chance of actually being good. This is the unfortunate truth about most movies that receive a large amount of publicity before being released. And yet, this is the most assured, time-honored way to generate revenue at what is left of "the box office."

Opening with a North Korean girl who seems to be singing angelically, we are then given the vitriolic translation of such lyrics as, "May they be forced to starve and beg and be ravaged by disease/May they be helpless and poor and cold/They are arrogant and fat/They are stupid and they're evil," with regard to the North Korean outlook on the United States. Already, this gives us an instant snapshot of how offensively over the top the film is going to be to both cultures involved. And, of course, rather than putting any sort of favorable light on how the "average American" is perceived, it uses a non-exaggerated version of James Franco as an interviewer for a trashy entertainment show to reveal some less than faint insight about the nature of American taste. 

Dave Skylark (Franco) himself states that Americans just want shit to be shoveled into their mouths (noting, "mangia, mangia, mangia" as he makes this statement) and is, indeed, a caricature of the type of host Americans are drawn to. And yet, the satirical element is utterly lacking, instead comprised of stupidity rather than biting political commentary. 

Lizzie Caplan as Agent Lacey

Lizzie Caplan as Agent Lacey

In spite of being a highly ranked TV show, Skylark Tonight is collectively balked at by “serious” news shows like 60 Minutes. This irks longtime producer Aaron Rapoport (Seth Rogen) to no end, as he originally went to the Columbia School of Journalism in order to document the more meaningful news of the world. After reaching the one thousandth episode and being mocked by one of his former college classmates, Aaron is all too sobered by the permanent turn his career has taken. This, in fact, is the most interesting facet of the film in that it’s the only element even remotely resembling character complexity. 

Wanting to appease Aaron, Dave agrees to make strides to change the direction of the show (away from such subjects as Eminem confessing he’s gay and Rob Lowe confessing he’s bald). And because The Interview adheres as clichely as possible to three-act structure, the opportunity to interview Kim Jong-un immediately arises. After Jong-un confesses to Skylark Tonight being one of his only American indulgences, Aaron contacts one of Jong-un’s associates by the only means he knows how: through the Olympics headquarters office (real roundabout).

When Sook (Diana Bang--no comment on last name) calls him back and tells him to meet in China to talk further, Aaron makes your standard Asian accent jokes (adding to the extreme tact of the movie) and then realizes the call is actually real. After schlepping to China and being given the terms of the interview, Aaron and Dave are approached by Agent Lacey (Lizzie Caplan) the morning after taking ecstasy in semi-celebration of the interview’s acceptance and subsequent publicity/backlash. 

Proposing to "take him out"

Proposing to "take him out"

As Agent Lacey and her associate wait in the doorway, Dave screams continuously about having “stink dick” and how he has no idea who he boned last night. The joke goes on for about five minutes, as though to somehow brainwash one into thinking that this is the height of comedic genius. At last the joke ends and Agent Blank can finally get to the point and ask them to “take him out” when they go to North Korea. And how are they to do so? With the rip-off method from Breaking Bad known as ricin.

Promotional poster

Promotional poster

Briefed and trained as well as can be expected, Dave and Aaron are sent off to execute the plan, only to instantly fuck it up by not putting the ricin in the specified bag and having it mistaken for gum by one of the guards, who then promptly chews it and tells Dave and Aaron that American gum is shit. The loss of the ricin is one of the quintessential second act obstacles necessary to keep the plot going, as made obvious by Aaron being required to go outside to collect a new batch from a missile launched nearby, battling a Siberian tiger and then having to shove the missile up his rectum (real classy) in order to hide it from the approaching guards.

And yet, after all of this work, Aaron is foiled by Kim Jong-un’s “honeydicking” of Dave, whom he takes for a ride in his armored tank (a gift from Stalin to his grandfather) while listening to Katy Perry (another played pop culture element in the wake of Horrible Bosses 2). After their magical day together, Dave can’t help but have feelings of remorse for wanting to kill him, causing him to deviate from the plan by stomping on the poison to keep Aaron from hurting his new friend. It is at around this juncture in the movie that summarization becomes utterly useless as the course of events not only becomes so difficult/predictable watch, but also becomes over the top in a manner more reminiscent of a low-budget cartoon as opposed to a satire. But hey, at least Rogen and Franco proved that America isn’t at risk for censorship of total tripe. So if you want to see something called The Interview, you might be better off investing your time in Interview with Sienna Miller and Steve Buscemi.