Tuesday, January 6, 2015

The Interview: The Review

Well, I just saw The Interview - on Cablevision - for three reasons: 1. I said the movie was "moronic," based solely on seeing the trailer, in an interview of my own on Arise TV conducted by Francesca Maxime before Christmas (see below for video).   So I figured I had some kind of ethical obligation to see how much my trailer-based review was justified.  2.  I'll be interviewed about "The Interview" again, next week, by Bob Mann on his "Let's Consider the Source" radio show on XM/Sirius Radio, and I thought it would be good to at least know a little about what I'd be talking about.   3. I'm a Professor of Communication and Media Studies at Fordham University.  The movie will no doubt be discussed in some of my classes in the Spring term - see, again, my above point about it being a good idea to know at least something about what I'll be talking about, a credo I try to follow as much as possible as a professor.

That I felt obligated to write such a long, detailed paragraph about why I saw The Interview itself says a lot, or at least how little I thought of the movie before seeing it.  And what did I think of the movie after actually seeing it?

Though parts of it were moronic, a lot of it was not - indeed, it was funny in lots of places without slapstick - and, moreover, it has a political message, and, most important, a heart.   At its best, The Interview was like a long Saturday Night Live skit, replete with fingers bitten off and blood spurting, which were never the high points of SNL in any case.   But as geo-political humor writ large, as the CIA and potential world conflict both lampooned and taken seriously for important fleeting moments, The Interview was quite good.   I enjoyed it - much of it - and laughed out loud a bunch of times.

The worst parts of The Interview were the incessant "butt" and "poop" jokes - a little less of which would have gone a long way.   But the two wild and crazy guys banter between Skylark (James Franco) and Rapaport  (Seth Rogen) throughout the movie was funny, and the bit of caricatured James Bondian romance with Rapaport and a hot North Korean propaganda minister worked well too, with a nice political payoff for the story in the end.

In short, though The Interview is no great movie or comedy for the ages, it's much better than not half bad, and I'm glad I saw it.   Good that Sony finally did the right thing and made the movie available.

I stand by most of things I say here ...

has nothing to do with The Interview, but it does have an Asian theme
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