directors Seth Rogan, Evan Goldberg
That was fast.
The tempest in a teapot that was the controversy over Seth Rogan and Evan Goldberg’s movie The Interview was like so last month. From the Sony hack to the threats of the hackers that led to the curtailing of theatrical release plans for the comedy about a buffoonish attempt to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un to the sudden availability of the movie on Netflix streaming. I’d predicted that the story of the film’s release and troubles would probably be far more interesting than the film itself, and you know what? It’s true.
I watched The Interview with my kids (ages 10 and 13) in large part because Felix was really interested in seeing it. I’d heard that the film was laced with inappropriate and crude humor (and it is), which is the main reason not to do something like that. But Felix kept wanting to see it and so, push came to shove and entertainment ensued.
Actually, the kids thought several parts of the film quite funny, and to be fair, it has a few funny bits.
James Franco plays an insufferable talk show host and the insufferable part is more just James Franco. It’s funny but I was thinking back to Pineapple Express (2008), which was written by Rogan and Goldberg and starred Rogan and Franco. In Pineapple Express, Franco’s character was actually funny. Here he’s barely tolerable. And the filmmakers seem to have devolved rather than evolved in the ensuing seven years because the formula isn’t all that different, bromance is still the key word, crass humor overlays the possibilities of funny, rarely being as natural and free as it could be.
In reality, they’ve collaborated on several films now including The Green Hornet (2011) and This Is the End (2013). I haven’t revisited any of these films since, but the one that stood out the most and still does in my mind is Superbad (2007) with Pineapple Express a reasonable second. I was thinking of going back to those movies with the kids but then thought the better of it with the crass humor and stuff that I don’t care for. Maybe in a few more years down the road.
The film’s controversies raised issues about parody and satire and their roles in society. Events that followed in France, the attack on the Charlie Hebdo offices seemed to underscore the potential crisis of free speech and satire — and it may overall. But I have to say that this film really isn’t even a satire. It’s a sloppy concept of a movie, buddy comedy, action film, but satire is almost besides the point.
And the film, despite the fact my kids thought it was pretty funny — I think it pretty much stinks, which is kind of what I anticipated from the trailers myself.
At least now that I’ve seen it, hopefully, I can forget about it.