Published Mar 17, 2015While it's probably still hard at this point to separate the film The Interview from the controversy surrounding its release — especially when the Blu-Ray is being billed as the Freedom Edition and features an introduction by directors Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg in which they label consumers heroes merely for purchasing it — history should eventually come to regard it as an unabashedly silly and gleefully provocative comedy that's packed with more than enough laughs to serve as a worthy follow-up to This Is The End.
When the host of an insipid celebrity talk show, Dave Skylark (James Franco), and his producer (Rogen) learn that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is a big fan of their show, they seize the opportunity to prove their legitimacy in the business by landing an interview with him. But the CIA has other ideas for their trip, convincing the duo to use the rare opportunity to assassinate the brutal dictator.
Of course, things don't go exactly as planned, with the dim-witted Skylark eventually bonding with the surprisingly charismatic Kim Jong-un (Randall Park) over their daddy issues and a shared affection for Katy Perry and margaritas. Meanwhile, Rogen's character falls for the woman in charge of the North Korean propaganda machine (Diana Bang) and learns that not everyone there is as enamoured with the nation's fearless leader as it initially appears.
As Rogen dials it back a notch to serve primarily as the voice of reason, Franco takes the reins and doesn't disappoint by walking mostly on the right side of the fine line between hilariously stupid and irritating. Park still nearly manages to steal the entire movie in the trickiest role, delving into the heart of a monster and finding a goofy kid saddled with far too much power and responsibility. The film doesn't entirely sidestep the serious implications of its fantasy scenario, and manages to leave room for plenty of welcome juvenile humour, like the set piece involving Rogen sticking something unwelcome up his ass.
Featuring a treasure trove of deleted and extended scenes, alternate takes, behind-the-scenes featurettes and footage of Randall Park's audition, the supplemental features included here are exemplary. Perhaps the only disappointment is that the commentary track with Rogen and Goldberg was recorded prior to any of the terrorist threats surrounding the film, so their affable banter — no doubt influenced by the incense they claim to be burning in the recording studio — is heavy on production stories but devoid of any insight into what it was like to live through their unorthodox experience in distributing the film.