By Don Iler • News Editor • 

DVD: The Interview

If ever there was a time that I felt watching a movie was a patriotic duty, it was while watching "The Interview," the buddy comedy romp that caused an international incident after North Korean agents tried to suppress it through hacking Sony's computers and issuing threats to American movie theaters. The mere act of watching it is in a way a statement in favor of freedom of speech and of artists right to exercise it. So yay for freedom and sticking it to Kim Jong Un.

But while the movie is brave for having raised the ire of one of the world's most brutal dictatorships, it would have helped if the movie had been slightly better than just mediocre. In fact the most surprising thing about "The Interview" is how tame the movie is. After about an hour, and after having heard the same unfunny "Lord of the Rings" joke for the third time in 60 minutes, I couldn't help but think, "They got upset over this?" Of course, North Korea is a completely unpredictable dictatorship that thinks nothing of killing, torturing and starving its own people, but still, if they hadn't caused such a fuss over it, I imagine this film would have entered and exited the world's consciousness rather quickly. Now it is a minor footnote in cinematic and espionage history.

Dave Skylark (James Franco) is a celebrity interviewer, whose vapid career track is questioned by his producer and bromantic life partner, Aaron Rapoport (Seth Rogen), who reconsiders his life of pursuing decidedly bad journalism. The pair, however, land an interview with Supreme Leader Kim Jong-Un, and are recruited by the CIA to assassinate the North Korean dictator. But as Skylark and Rapoport infiltrate the hermit kingdom, they begin to question their assassination mission while listening to Katy Perry with the young despot. 

The film has all the elements that could have elevated it into satire or an absurd espionage tinged adventure film, but instead it relies on uneven and spread too far between jokes. The palpable sexual tension between Rogen's and Franco's characters almost shifts the film into romantic comedy territory and left me when wondering why the film didn't end with a wedding. 

It's not a great film, or even a good film. But if you approach it with low expectations and the mindset of a 13-year-old boy, you too can fight for freedom and the American way from the comfort of your couch. Because if you don't watch it, the terrorists win.

"The Interview" (2014) Directed by Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen, starring James Franco, Seth Rogen, Lizzy Caplan, Randall Park. Rated R. 112 minutes.


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