Thursday, December 25, 2014

THE INTERVIEW, A Fine Bromance

How does The Interview compare to current big studio releases?  I liked it more than The Hunger Games:  Mockingjay Part 1, the unnecessary Annie remake, more than Horrible Bosses 2 and more than Unbroken directed by Angelina Jolie.

Let me get real.  Comedies with Seth Rogen and James Franco are guilty pleasures for me.  Pineapple Express and This Is The End ...love 'em.  Movies with those two are basically bromances.  They gives us definite man-love on the down-low, only it's not so down-low.  I'll put it like this -- if Seth Rogen and James Franco had made Brokeback Mountain, that movie would've had weed-smoking scenes and a happy ending.

Rogen and Franco have a fine bromance in The Interview.

The Interview is funny.  It's about media manipulation, freedom of the press and being responsible with that freedom.  James Franco plays Dave Skylark, a popular Billy Bush-type tabloid entertainment news TV host.  Rogen plays his harried producer, a guy who longs to do more substantial, hardcore news.  Handsome, well-dressed and a bit of an idiot, Dave Skylark winds up in Korea with the chance to interview Kim Jong-un.  His best buddy/producer Aaron Rapaport goes with him.  Will Dave ask puffball questions like he asks celebrities on his tabloid show or will he crossover and ask well-researched, tough political questions and thus conduct a serious news interview?  Also..will Dave and Aaron terminate the Korean leader for the CIA?  Yes, they've been approached by the CIA to perform an outlandish task.  These two dudes are given spy gadgets.
The movie opens with Dave at work on "Skylark Tonight."  Eminem is his guest and reveals that his music leaves "...a breadcrumbs trail of gayness."

When Dave and Aaron discuss the Korean leader before they head overseas, Dave remarks "I hear he doesn't pee or poop."  Later, when Dave tells that to the Korean leader (who happens to be a fan of Dave's), Kim confirms that he does indeed have a functioning anus.  Says Kim Jong-un, "I've got a butthole and it's working overtime."
To think that a movie with Kim Jong-un talking about his butthole to a clueless national TV personality got the involvement of our President Obama because of the Sony hacking mess.  Lord, have mercy.

When Dave Skylark and the mysterious Korean leader meet, you don't feel that espionage is at play and murder will be attempted.  In fact, it's more like a blind date that goes really, really well.  First Kim shows Dave some of his secret military possessions.  He points to one tank and says, "It was a gift to my grandfather from Stalin."  Dave responds, "In my country, it's pronounced Stallone."

Not only does overwhelmed Aaron frantically beg Dave to be a serious TV journalist for once,  Aaron's got to hide sensitive information in his butt per orders from the CIA.  Information in a metal tube.  A big metal tube.
I would not expect anything less from a Seth Rogen and James Franco comedy.

One of the other reasons I wanted to see The Interview is because I really dig actor Randall Park.  He's been in numerous TV commercials, episodes of TV series and in movies.  He's a pro at comedy and, come February, he'll play the dad on a new ABC sitcom called Fresh Off The Boat.  It's about an Asian-American family.  I hated the title but I discovered that the sitcom is based on a memoir of the same name.

Randall Park is an absolute hoot as the Korean dictator, a seemingly misunderstand man with father issues -- a man who likes Margaritas and Katy Perry music.  There's conflict over the orders Dave and Aaron got from the CIA.  Dave has a new Korean buddy.
These two need to get the TV interview and then get the heck back to the USA pronto.
The Interview has got a brisk pace, the acting is good, there's action, there's almost sex and there's innocently homo-erotic dialogue during stressful moments.  Fans of Seth Rogen & James Franco bromance comedies will dig it.  As usual, Franco seems to be a closet bear chaser.  And Rogen is the unaware bear.  If you liked Pineapple Express and This Is The End, you'll like The Interview.  I laughed a lot. I needed something loopy.
In the category of films that mocked real-life dictators or had a wacky political anarchy, it's not on the same top shelf with Chaplin's The Great Dictator (1940) or Duck Soup (1933) starring the Marx Brothers or Woody Allen's Bananas (1971).  But, when The Interview pokes American TV journalism today, an age in which the line between news and entertainment has been erased, I would put this comedy on a double bill with Broadcast News, the sharp 1987 comedy/drama written and directed by James L. Brooks.



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