The Interview Review

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The_Interview posterHeaven help me, I’ll probably get hacked and attacked by terrorists for writing a positive review, but I found The Interview absolutely hysterical, and I would have given it my vote for best comedy of the year had Sony not pulled it from theaters. I’m really hoping they release it on a pay per view basis online, or it might be the funniest movie you’ll never see. I’m glad I went to a critics’ screening before all the threats were made–not that the wackos would deem a critics screening significant enough to terrorize.

The premise, as you must know by now, has James Franco playing a smarmy talk show host, and Seth Rogan as his ambitious producer and best friend, heading to North Korea for the “get” of the century, an interview with Kim Jong-Un. Lizzie Caplan from Masters of Sex plays a CIA agent who serves as a “honey pot” to recruit them, and Randall Park, who worked with Rogan and Franco on Neighbors, plays a fiendishly naughty Jong-Un. Co-written and directed by Seth Rogan and his professional partner Evan Goldberg, The Interview is scathing, silly, outrageous and uproariously fun. We’re talking Tropic Thunder fun (also a politically incorrect comedy). And there are some fabulous lines that were destined to become part of the popular vernacular, such as “They hate us cuz they ain’t us,” and “he’s peanut butter and jealous!”

Sure, the language is foul and there are enough penis jokes to flood a frat house, but you weren’t expecting Neil Simon, were you?   The film has taken a lot of flack for actually knocking off the dictator–no spoiler alerts necessary here because you either won’t see it or have already heard–but the Supreme Leader would have been offended by the entire movie, let alone his demise.

I, for one, am surprised that anyone, including the North Koreans, are taking this film seriously. Further proof that insane tyrannical dictators have no sense of humor whatsoever, and I guess the Sony execs who green lit this project should have figured that out. Still, it’s so obviously a raucous spoof, and Hollywood has been parodying politicians for about a century now. Where was the outcry when they released Team America: World Police, the Trey Parker and Matt Stone (Southpark) comedy involving daddy Kim Jung-Il? Granted that one was cast with marionettes and the performances were wooden (sorry, I couldn’t resist), but it too was incendiary. And it isn’t as if we haven’t poked fun at other world leaders in film, including our own presidents. Ronald Reagan comes to mind as someone who has taken a particular beating in the media. I’m sorry to see Sony taking such a hit over this. Can’t we all just get along? It’s a joke, son.

If you ask me, Sony is perpetrating a far greater crime against humanity by releasing it’s latest rendition of Annie. But that’s a whole ‘nother review.

Rated R

1 Hour 52 Minutes

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Lisa Johnson Mandell

Lisa Johnson Mandell

Lisa Johnson Mandell is an award winning journalist, author and film/TV critic. She can be heard regularly on Cumulus radio stations throughout the US, and on BBC Radio.

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