This Seth Rogen/James Franco vehicle is about a celebrity journalist and his producer as they secure an interview with Kim Jong-un. The CIA of course takes the opportunity to use the duo to assassinate the North Korean dictator.
Rogen plays the high-strung producer trying to bring his celebrity news/talk show to higher levels of respectability. He balances humour and acting as the straight-man to Franco’s over the top sleaze ball host.
The film centers around the two of them being conflicted about undertaking the mission. Franco’s Dave Skylark is quickly taken in by the dictator’s charming front, while Rogen’s Aaron Rapaport is intent on completing the mission.
There was some controversy surrounding the release, as threats from hackers against Sony led to the release to be first cancelled and then revised. The North Korean government obviously hated the idea of this film, as it portrays Kim Jong-un in a negative light.
All told the film itself was pretty good. Franco plays a sleazeball journalist incredibly well. Rogen does a great job in the role of his producer, and plays the neurotic straight-man incredibly well. The movie has some good humourous segments, and the tension in the interview scene is great. Franco goes from being the patsy interviewer to driving in hard-hitting questions of Jong-un. The intense questioning back and forth between dictator and interviewer is in stark juxtaposition to the chaos in the control room.
I was pleasantly surprised by how good this film was. It was a little ridiculous at times, but if that surprises you then you probably haven’t watched anything with Seth Rogen in it before. Hell, it’s worth watching just to see Kim Jong-un get blown up while Katy Perry’s ‘Firework’ is playing.
My verdict: If you’re looking for some solid entertainment with a bit of depth give it a go. Also, with what’s actually been happening in the news these days this movie is a little surreal. I’m pretty sure the writers(Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg, and Dan Sterling) know more about North Korea than the current President and Secretary of State. That in itself is incredibly fucked up.