THE INTERVIEW (Seth Rogen & Evan Goldberg, 2014)
December 26-28, Film Society of Lincoln Center, Walter Reade Theater and Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center, 144/165 West 65th St. between Eighth Ave. & Broadway, 212-875-5050
December 25-31, Cinema Village, 22 East 12th St. between University Pl. & Fifth Ave., 212-924-3363
The most infamous film of 2014 was released in theaters on Christmas after all, following the embarrassing hacking of Sony’s servers and George Clooney and the president sharing their opinions about violent threats from North Korea over a movie — and a stupid movie, at that. But as it turns out, The Interview is stupid fun, even if it does lose its way amid the bizarre absurdity of its final scenes. James Franco — we’re sorry, but we still can’t get enough of him — stars as superbly sycophantic celebrity talk show host Dave Skylark, who just happens to be one of reclusive North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un’s (Randall Park) personal favorites. So Skylark’s best friend and producer, Aaron Rapoport (Rogen), sets up a live interview with Kim, agreeing to the leader’s rigidly controlled set of conditions delivered by his gorgeous security chief, Sook (Diana Bang). When the CIA hears about the interview, they send agent Lacey (Lizzy Caplan) to convince Skylark and Rapoport that they must assassinate Kim for the good of the world. But their best-laid plans go awry when Kim charms Skylark as they embark on a brief bromance that threatens the bromance that already exists between Dave and Aaron. Codirected by Rogen and Goldberg, whose collaborations have also included Superbad, Pineapple Express, This Is the End, and other hits and misses, and written by first-time screenwriter Dan Sterling (The Office, King of the Hill), The Interview is, for the most part, a very funny, extremely juvenile comedy that never misses a chance to make a butt joke. With a little bit of Stripes here, a splash of Spies Like Us there, it follows in the tradition of crazy lowbrow military comedies that eventually go off the deep end but contain more than their fair share of laugh-out-loud silliness. Franco and Rogen, who have been working together since the days of the great Freaks and Geeks, are so much fun to watch as a duo that things don’t completely fall apart even when the script lets them down. Oh, and meanwhile, Eminem comes out of the closet, Rob Lowe reveals a frightening secret, and other celebrities show up as themselves in this bromantic comedy that nearly started WWIII.