In ‘The Interview,’ Korean leader is portrayed as a likeable character!

By Andre C. Ochoa

The film “The Interview” streamed online this past Christmas with hopes that its controversial plot would do well in the theaters. The aim and marketing for the film may have met high standards, but the film falls short.

It is a comedy about two U.S. journalists (played by Seth Rogan and James Franco) who are pulled into a plot to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

Its creators Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogan anticipated that the film would catch fire amongst moviegoers. Spoiler alert: Don’t proceed to read if you still want to watch it.

Catching fire, the main protagonist (or antagonist depending on your side of the political fence) literally did in the end.

Symbolically, the film itself has caught fire from their studio and theaters nationwide due to its political satire and content, which included the assassination on North Korea leader, Kim Jong-un.

“The Interview’s” weekend box office gross or lack thereof, was predictable. It’s creators wished the film’s gross would meet at least half of what the movie “Catching Fire” ( the second Hunger Games trilogy) achieved, while many media outlets, movie pundits, and reviewers would actually like to see that movie catch on fire — yes, in the literal sense.

Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogan, who previously collaborated on works such as “Superbad,” “Pineapple Express,” and most recently on “This is The End,” knew the type of movie they wanted to create, a political satirical film that included the comedic team of Rogan and co-star James Franco. The longtime collaborators had explained in previous interviews that they just wanted to make a funny movie, “one that pokes as much fun at the United States as it does at the Korean leader.” The movie even before its release was already acknowledged with infamy, but the real question was – Was the movie even good?

While Goldberg and Rogan were such a success with “Superbad” and “Pineapple Express,” “The Interview” seemed to not live up to its predecessors. It is an hour and a half too-long of what felt like a Saturday Night Live skit gone wrong, which included numerous redundant and predictable penis jokes and an underdeveloped bromance – all while trying to assassinate the leader of North Korea.

While most of the film fell poorly, there were notable are moments including scenes which suggest Kim Jong-un as a likable character and a normal Joe whose guilty pleasure is a game of pick-up basketball and a good Katy Perry tune (“Fireworks”). Says a family member: “ Jong-un, whatever, should not feel too bad. He was almost a likeable character until James Franco discovered the plastic apples”.

Sure, there are a million ass-jokes shoved into the movie which produced a chuckle or two, but there’s only so much repetitive smuttiness and a running gaggle of Lord of the Rings analogies could carry.

Yes, the criticism could be seen as too brash or too harsh for a Rogan-produced movie, but with all the controversy that surrounded the film with the Sony studio hacking, the cancelation of premiers, and the indecisiveness of whether or not to show the movie to the public, the contents of the movie should be somewhat worth all the commotion.

Under the protection of using their free speech, Goldberg and Rogan created a spectacularly poor political romp.

“The Interview,” notable for its obvious controversy, initially was being pulled from theaters by Sony, but ended up being available to 300+ theaters across the country. Where the film did win (probably the only way it came victorious) was that it was available in the comforts of your living room.

In addition to being able to be viewed in theaters, the film was also available for rent and purchased on YouTube, Google play, and Xbox Video. While the film itself seems affable at best, the availability of the film without leaving the house made it bearable. The availability of new released movies from your Xbox will pave the way for the future of newly released movies.

“The Interview” failed to create huge revenue on its opening weekend, yet the hype that built up the movie and its controversial premise raised eyes and conversation amongst moviegoers.

Maybe that’s what its creators wanted out of America, to make conversation and to be able to take a somewhat comical premise and turn it into a silly “reality” oxymoron of a film.

If that was the case, then their job was done. The movie itself is not supposed to change your view on North Korea, or meant as a way to help you understand an authoritarian state better than you already know, but coming from a fan of Goldberg and Rogan’s work, the film itself falls short.

Andre Ochoa is an avid Lakers’ follower since he was 5 and plays basketball himself. He blogs his sports analyses and likes to review concerts. He plays drums, guitar, enjoys music ranging from Paul Simon, matisyahu, and percussion instrumentals. He is an x-ray tech in Beverly Hills. He is the second son of writers Cecile and Dante Ochoa, co-publishers of The FilAm L.A., where this review originally appeared.

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