Snapshot Review: “The Interview,” A Riotous Rogen Romp

Seth Rogen’s terrific comedy, “The Interview,” tells the story of television producer Aaron Rapoport and celebrity talk show host Dave Skylark, who find out that the leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-un is a fan of their gossip-oriented talk show just as the two decide that they want to raise the level of their program from schlock to legitimate journalism.

Skylark (played by James Franco) and Rapoport (played by Rogen) fly to North Korea for an exclusive interview, which prompts the CIA to set the two up on a mission to assassinate Kim with a dose of ricin administered by a handshake that Skylark will have on an adhesive strip on the palm of his hand.

The film shows Rogen’s cerebral wit and Franco’s gut-level honesty play off of each other perfectly. Plus, they both have a ready appetite for childish humor. If there is a complaint to be made, I’ll couch it in praise: Rogen is a master of situational comedy, although not so terrific at physical comedy, per se, even though his facial expressions are priceless at times.

Although full of brilliant moments, I thought the film did not realize its full potential. It comes off as an early Woody Allen – a great idea with a few over the top moments. But too many times it falls back on convention.

That isn’t to say it isn’t great to have this in-your-face comedy brighten up the holiday week. “The Interview” is being shown by select independent theaters, having been yanked from mainstream distribution by Sony Pictures after North Korea hacked into their computers with threats if it was shown in theaters.

For Rogen, this is a huge blow. It is being touted as a breakout moment for online distribution, but that hardly matches the box office potential it had going for it.

To read the full, three-minute review, click here.

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