'The Interview' filmmakers get their wish: It's being seen, even by me

Written by Sharon Eberson on .

I was personally offended by the movie I saw on Christmas Eve. It took aim at broadcast journalists who are depicted as either being stuck in ivory towers or idiots.

Nah, not really. I'm not easily offended.

2014JamesFranco1225For my $5.99 at and the twinge of nervousness spending it, I got the gross, irreverent "The Interview," which like other movies by Seth Rogen/Evan Goldberg (they directed and are credited with the concept; the screenplay is by Dan Sterling) is designed to get as many laughs as possible out of sex or bodily-function jokes with a maximum of obscenities and pop-culture references (I enjoyed the latter, by the way). As parodies go, the much-ballyhooed plot to assassinate the North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un and how the country is depicted falls somewhere between a Quentin Tarantino historical fantasy and a bumbling Austin Powers' caper. 

"The Interview" is as much centered on the Rogen-Franco bromance as what a few comedians have to say about North Korea and how our government deals with scary dictators. It's ridiculous, it has some heart; your expectations are likely spot-on. The threats against and digital invasion of Sony by, well, someone, have had the opposite of the intended reaction: They have made "The Interview" a must-see for USA first-amendment patriots, if you believe the Twitter-verse. I would likely have waited for the movie to hit a cable channel if not for my curiosity giving in to all the fuss. "Into the Woods" is more my speed.

There is a high-concept plot -- Rogen plays Aaron, the producer of a popular talk show that has hit its 1,000th episode and seems to be soaring. The host, Dave Skylark, is played by James Franco, a supposedly charismatic talking head who makes lots of goofy faces and is fed questions by Rogen as guests share their secrets. It opens with perhaps my favorite bit: a renowned rapper (playing himself) revealing he is gay on camera. Franco mugs beyond belief (beyond belief being the key here).

At the after party, a "60 Minutes" producer and Aaron's J-school classmate looks down his nose at his talk-show counterpart. He may as well have  "You call that journalism?" tattooed on his forehead. The confrontation sends Aaron into a contemplative mood when suddenly Dave rushes in to say they have been invited to North Korea for the biggest get in talkshowdom. Soon Agent Lacey (Lizzy Caplan) arrives and pops the question: Since you are going to North Korea and have access to its leader, how about you guys kill Kim for us?

All I'll say about the rest of it is that I now have a new word in my vocabulary: honey-potting, a synonym for seducing. I like it, guys, even in the context of:

Aaron: "You are being honey-potted." Dave: "No. Women are smart in 2014." (That's from memory, but you get the idea.)

Geek that I am, I also enjoyed it every time Dave tells Aaron that he's Samwise Gamgee to Dave's Frodo. Kim Jong-un (Randall Park) is portrayed as a fan of Skylark's (sitting in for Dennis Rodman?) who is a caring and conniving one minute and psychotic and petulant the next. Although events play out on a grand scale, here he is seen mostly as a threat to the Aaron-Dave bromance. If you've seen the Rogen-Franco just-because "Bound" video, it's more of the same. Interesting that the note on the front end of the YouTube video for "Bound" says they were inspired to make it on the set of "The Interview."

I got on Twitter for a little while during the movie, just to see if anyone was watching before the movie opened in movie theaters today. Of course they were. As I write, at 8 a.m. on Christmas Day, it's the third highest trending topic, behind Merry Xmas and Santa and ahead of Happy Christmas. The tweets were heavily on the thumb's up side, although at the Rotten Tomatoes website, it has a 50 percent rating among critics and 73 percent among the audience. 

I should add that there were many reports and tweets about the site to download "The Interview" being "slow and glitchy." I had no problems at all paying and getting the film immediately.

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