You’ve read the news story; now you can see the film. Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen’s ‘The Interview’ follows the hysterically violent misadventures of idiotic talk-show host Dave Skylark (James Franco, hamming it up) and his underachieving producer, Aaron (Rogen), who land an interview with Skylark superfan and North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un (Randall Park). Sensing an opportunity, the CIA then enlists the bumbling duo to assassinate the world’s most reclusive tyrant. Next up, we’re in Pyongyang, where Skylark and Kim are singing Katy Perry’s ‘Firework’ to each other inside a tank.
It’s Park’s performance that elevates the premise of a routine comedy sketch into the stuff of a compelling, genuinely radical feature: the actor portrays Kim as an endearingly deranged despot with nuclear daddy issues. But Goldberg and Rogen are most enamoured 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. It isn’t just the most sophisticated and beautifully shot of Rogen’s star vehicles, it’s also the most giddily puerile. As funny as ‘Bad Neighbours’ and as demented as ‘This Is the End’, ‘The Interview’ confirms Rogen as the most ambitious mainstream comedian working in film.