What a difference a month makes.
Thirty-some days ago, everybody was up in arms about North Korea’s alleged “hack” into Sony’s purportedly “secure” computer systems, and when word got out that the object of that tiny, starving little nation’s ire was the not-quite-released-at-the-time James Franco/Seth Rogen “comedy” vehicle THE INTERVIEW, suddenly movie fans everywhere propelled this flick to the top of their “must-see” list — especially when Sony reversed their decision to shelve the film and announced that they were “bravely” going to screen it in select theaters, and make it available for purchase online, despite the “threats” they’d purportedly received from representatives of dictator Kim Jong Un stating that “9/11-style terrorist attacks” would be forthcoming if the film ever saw the light of day.
Sure, some of us were calling bullshit on the whole thing from the outset (check my Facebook and Twitter feeds if you don’t believe I smelled a rat from day one) — we’re talking about a country where hardly anybody even has internet access let alone “super-hacker” skills, after all — but now it seems the tide has turned. The movie was screened, no “9/11-style terrorist attacks” ever took place, and everyone who put up tweets along the lines of “going to see THE INTERVIEW today because, goddamit, free speech matters” can pat themselves on the back for being noble crusaders for the first amendment. The good guys won here, right? Heck, now all of you high-and-mighty “free speech” champions can even see this thing on Netflix absolutely free (which is how I caught it last night).
Except — almost no actual “cyber-security” experts believe North Korea was behind the “hack” anymore. The idea that they could even launch “9/11-style terrorist attacks” if they wanted to is utter nonsense. And Sony laughed all the way to the bank, as a film that no doubt would have been completely lost among a crowd of high-profile, big-budget holiday season releases raked in more money via internet downloads than it ever would have made at the box office.
Let’s just call this for what it is — the most epic publicity hustle in Hollywood history. I promise you, somewhere the late, legendary showbiz huckster William Castle is having a long, hard laugh at this whole thing, because the scale of Sony’s scam is so far beyond his wildest dreams and imaginings. I couldn’t say for sure whether the “hack” was an “inside job” or not — theories abound that a disgruntled former employee may be the one responsible — but that doesn’t even really matter at this point : the minute Sony’s systems were compromised, either from within or without, some enterprising marketing whiz there decided to blame it on an easy target, and use the situation to make THE INTERVIEW both the most talked-about film in a good long while, and a symbol for armchair and internet “freedom” crusaders everywhere.
There’s just one pesky little detail that all the carnival barking and righteous indignation in the world can’t cover up, though — the flick itself is a festering, oozing, putrefying, tapeworm-infested pile of six-week-old dogshit that’s completely devoid of any redeeming qualities whatsoever.
Meet complete fucking asshole Dave Skylark (James Franco), an egotistical, shallow, stupid TV talk show host who will fuck anything, and his producer, Aaron Rapoport (Seth Rogen), an insecure, personality-free, tepid nebbish who wants to do “serious” news. The two share a painfully dull Hollywood “bromance,” but much as they might joke about it, (which is absolutely all of the time) don’t worry — they’re not really gay, and they both spend the better part of the next two hours desperately trying to prove it. In fact, this flick oozes with the kind of deep-seated homophobia that only the self-proclaimed “hip” can get away with, whether it’s playing a fictitious scene of Eminem “coming out of the closet” for laughs, or having Rogen’s dipshit character shove a metallic projectile up his asshole while stressing again and again that nothing’s ever been up there before, the message here is clear — “hey, we’re cool 21st-century cats who have no problem with gay people, but please! Don’t anybody accuse us of being queer ourselves!”
If that setup sounds “funny” to you, then you’ll probably love the overall level of the “humor” in this flick, since it never figures out that being crass, boorish, and crude isn’t the same thing as actual, ya know, comedy. The entire movie is an endless succession of dick jokes, fart jokes, jerk-off jokes, and shit jokes, all delivered with such a coy wink and nudge to the audience that you’ll actually miss being in the first grade because, hell, back then at least you had an excuse to laugh at this kind of garbage — you weren’t old enough to know any better.
Now you are, though, and I hate to be the one to break it to you, but THE INTERVIEW is a movie made by morons for morons. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not above seriously brain-dead “retard humor” myself — shit, I number KING FRAT among my all-time favorite films — but at least the makers of the dumb-fuck comedies of yesteryear didn’t think they deserved a fucking medal for their cleverness the way that Franco and Rogen do. I’m especially going to fault Rogen here since he co-directed the film along with Evan Goldberg (who, funny enough, worked with these two assholes and a bunch more on the equally un-funny and ego-stroking THIS IS THE END) and co-wrote the screenplay, but really, when there’s this much blame to spread around, no one is really innocent.
By the time the “action” moves to North Korea, we get a reasonably competent performance from Randall Park as dictator Kim Jong Un, but hey, whaddya know — turns out his character’s entire raison d’etre is to desperately (and, again, endlessly) prove that he’s not gay, too! All the “honeydick” jokes in the world aside, don’t you worry, hung-up homophobes in the audience — these dudes are all straight as a line and just love pussy.
Problem is, the film itself doesn’t seem to like women very much, as evidenced by the fact that Rogen’s purported “love interest” (played by Diana Bang) is never given a last name, and the closest thing Franco gets to a “love interest” — the duo’s CIA “handler” (Lizzy Caplan) who is in charge of co-ordinating their assassination attempt on Un — is never given a first name. There a million and one “guy movies” out there where women are treated as interchangeable pieces of meat, sure, but few are this fucking brazen about it.
So, yeah — at the end of the day, this is what we “fighting for,” I guess. The “right” to watch worthless films with worthless “stars” whose egos are so monumental that they put the real Kim Jong Un — who’s known for having statues erected in his honor and plastering portraits of his face in every building in his country — to shame. Tell you what, if this is what THE INTERVIEW is like, I don’t want whatever job it is they’re offering.