Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

'The Interview': Should the Movie Have Been Made in the First Place?

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

'The Interview': Should the Movie Have Been Made in the First Place?

Article excerpt

I've seen worse movies than Sony's "The Interview," starring James Franco and Seth Rogen as two bumblers enlisted by the CIA to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. But I don't think I've ever seen a movie this mediocre that had more real-world repercussions. According to US intelligence officials on Wednesday, the $44 million movie, which North Korean officials deemed an "act of war," instigated a full-on cyberattack linked to the North on the Sony motion picture company, leaking sensitive and incriminating e- mails and effectively shutting down its computer systems. Hackers threatened the theaters playing the film with 9/11-style violence, forcing the studio to cancel distribution of the film on all platforms. It was scheduled to open Christmas Day, no less.

What was Sony thinking? In the history of corporate bonehead decisions, the financing and distributing of a slobbola comedy about the assassination of a sitting world leader has to rank right up there with the New Coke.

I saw the film last week at a press preview before Sony pulled the plug. A brief summary: Franco plays Dave Skylark, a self- infatuated TV talk-show host specializing in ratings-grabbing celebrity sleaze. Rogen plays Aaron Rapaport, his best friend and producer. Despite his commercial success, Aaron craves respectability. His opportunity arrives when Kim is revealed as a Skylark fan who will consent to an exclusive interview - provided the interview is conducted in Pyongyang and he controls both the answers and the questions. Hearing this, the CIA persuades the duo to do their patriotic duty and dispose of Kim (Randall Park) with a ricin-laced handshake.

Once in North Korea, however, Skylark and Kim hit it off, so the hit, for a while, is off. They carry on like a pair of frat-boy bromancers, shooting hoops, boozing, womanizing, smoking dope. When reality strikes - Skylark is reminded that the Katy Perry-obsessed Kim starves his people, has nuclear ambitions, etc. - the deed is carried out and Kim, fleeing in his helicopter, is last seen being blown to smithereens.

As you can probably surmise from this, "The Interview" is not exactly hard-hitting political satire. …

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