TL;DR – Fascinating but not really shocking, classic Rogen/Franco film
Score – 3 out of 5 stars
Ok where to begin, this is a very surreal film, and honestly would have been but a footnote in the careers of the two leads had the controversy with North Korea and Sony not occurred.
As far as the movie goes if you have seen any of James Franco’s and Seth Rogan’s previous work (Bad Neighbors or This is the End etc) you would not be in any way surprised about the tone/content of this film, and because of that without the North Korea setting I doubt this movie would be as interesting as it is. The basic premise of the film is that Aaron (Seth Rogen) is trying to be considered a more respected member of the TV Industry, as no one respects him in his position as producer for his best friends Dave’s (James Franco) popular but lightweight talk show Skylark Tonight. This all changes with Aaron finds out that current North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un loves the show … and inevitable ‘hijinks’ ensue when the CIA get them to assassinate the leader during the interview (see they worked the name of the title into the film).
Putting aside the setup, there are quite a lot of this movie that does work. There is still a lot of chemistry between Franco and Rogen, the supporting cast is really good with Diana Bang (Sook), Randall Park (Kim) and Lizzy Caplan (Lacey) putting in really solid performances, there is some really cool editing in parts of the film and generally speaking the film is quite funny.
It does not all work, some of the jokes felt really forced, the attempt to make James Franco likeable towards the end falls a bit flat, also I highly doubt North Korea would have all their nukes in the one place, it seems like an oversight.
But this being said it is an entertaining film, crude but entertaining and its third act is really quite something. In the end if you don’t like James Franco or Seth Rogen, then you are not going to like this film, but given how truly absurd the North Korea Kim family is, smashing that together with the usual Rogen/Franco weirdness leads to a bit of fun and I don’t think you will ever look at the Katy Perry song Firework the same way ever again.
By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.
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Screenplay – Dan Sterling
Story By – Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg and James Weaver
Staring – Seth Rogen, James Franco, Lizzy Caplan, Randall Park & Diana Bang
Rating – Australia: MA15+; Canada 14A; Ireland: 16; NZ: R16; UK: 15; USA: R