After all of the back-and-forth cancellation drama, it looks like "The Interview" is back on, if only in limited release.
Select theaters across the country will show directors Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg's raunchy comedy featuring Rogen and James Franco assassinating North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un on Christmas day. No need to rehash all the drama surrounding the movie; that's all well-documented by now. (Too well-documented, for certain entities.) Lost in all the scandal is one very important question: How's the movie?
With "The Interview" now back on track, let's take a look at what some critics have had to say about the controversial new comedy.
"In 'The Interview,' Seth Rogen plays Aaron Rapaport, longtime producer of the successful entertainment talk show 'Skylark Tonight,' which is hosted by his friend, Dave Skylark (James Franco). After running into an old buddy who has a more serious news producer job, Aaron feels inadequate with a career focused on celebrity scandals and pop-culture fluff. To keep his buddy happy, Dave pitches a crazy idea: North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un is a known fan of 'Skylark Tonight,' so why don’t they try to score an exclusive interview with him?
"That longshot turns 'Mission: Impossible' when the CIA assigns Aaron and Dave the task of assassinating Kim – a job complicated by Dave’s growing bromance with the seemingly misunderstood dictator. As Dave gets sucked into 'The Kim Show,' it’s up to Aaron to maintain clarity about the mission at hand – before Kim’s watchdogs figure out what the duo are up to, and make them disappear forever." — Kofi Outlaw, ScreenRant.com
"But most importantly, while the film conveys anti-North Korean government sentiment, it isn’t blindly pro-U.S either. When the reporting team finally comes to blows with Kim over the reprehensible state of his country, Sterling is smart enough to let the evil dictator get in a few hits, suggesting that the U.S. has more incarcerated people per capita than North Korea and that the Korean War was the U.S.’ fault. While the point of the movie isn’t to have an intelligent discourse on the fallibility of democracy or even the harshness of dictatorship, it’s nice that in a movie that draws laughs from Seth Rogen wincing as he stores a mini-missile in his butt, there are also intelligent thought-nuggets to be found on topics such as whether it really help this country to murder its leader and see him replaced and the role of journalism in combatting evil in the world." — Tess Hoffmann, ThePlaylist.com
The Freak and the Geek
"I like watching Franco and Rogen together. I think Franco's joy in playing scenes with Rogen is clearly evident any time the two of them work together. Franco always seems like he's at his loosest and his most playful when he's in a scene with Seth, and that's definitely true here. … Rogen, who is as close to a straight man as you'll get in this film, once again proves to be a solid anchor allowing the supporting cast to go as far to the extreme as they want." — Drew McWeeny, HitFix.com
The Dictator Himself
"It’s [actor Randall] Park’s performance that elevates the premise of a routine SNL sketch into the stuff of a compelling and genuinely radical feature, the actor portraying Kim as an endearingly deranged despot with nuclear daddy issues. But Goldberg and Rogen are most enamored of the idea that Kim’s subjects see him as a living god, and the character’s insecurities soon form the cornerstone of the film’s halfhearted but hilarious look at the fine line between celebrity and idolatry. On Skylark’s show, audiences are shocked to discover that Rob Lowe is balding. But on Pyongyang TV, audiences are carefully protected from the bombshell revelation that Kim has a butthole." — David Ehrlich, Time Out
Does It Meet The Hype?
"In all the brouhaha over 'The Interview,' a motion picture which prompted terrorist threats against any movie theaters screening it, many seem to have forgotten that there is an actual film at the center of all this controversy. But audiences sure haven't. Being told that we could not see this film – possibly ever – has set a high expectations for the comedy which, sadly, doesn't live up to them. And now that audiences will finally be allowed to watch 'The Interview,' if only in a limited release, they are bound to see the film and think, 'We almost sacrificed our principles over this…?'" — William Bibbiani, CraveOnline.com
The Final Word
"'The Interview' may not deserve the attention it's now getting, but it does deserve to be more than a footnote in cinema history. It's a film that's funny and engaging, and one that when you have a chance to see it you should pay your money and go. There's some serious stuff going on here about this film and the reaction that has resulted, and rather than just fuming on social media it may be time, if you wish, to take a stand and watch the film with a group of friends. The biggest 'f--k you' to anyone trying to silence art or prevent people from seeing something challenging is to double down and give it a chance." — Jason Gorber, TwitchFilm.com
"The Interview" opens in limited release and on VOD on Christmas day.