Seth Rogen and James Franco are up to no good in The Interview.

Seth Rogen and James Franco are up to no good in The Interview.

Reel Reviews: The Interview: film marketing 101

There is no such thing as bad publicity when it comes to a bad movie.

  • Jan. 9, 2015 7:00 a.m.

There is no such thing as bad publicity…

On Nov. 24, Sony Pictures Entertainment was hacked by an organization calling itself the Guardians of Peace. Among the data stolen were several complete films, un-produced scripts, such as the new James Bond film, and countless e-mails.

On Dec. 16, the Guardians of Peace published specific threats of violence on theatres showing the release of a comedy film called The Interview, which, of course, made everyone believe the hackers were from North Korea.

The Interview stars Seth Rogen and James Franco as inept American purveyors of an infotainment program called Skylark Tonight. Rogen and Franco end up as unlikely assassins when they score an interview with the most illusive world leader Kim Jong-un after finding out he loves their show. The CIA gives them the means and methods to get the job done, but they are a couple of bumbling idiots, so the success of the mission comes into question.

As movies go, it’s terrible, so typical Rogen (drugs, sex, being dumb and homophobic.) It’s likely that Sony knew this and wanted to make sure they didn’t waste money promoting this turkey. The film has had a limited theatrical release and has now come to a theatre near you. It’s been released online and downloaded almost a million times in the first day, for free. (Because once you release a digital copy of a major film it gets copied and shared.) So this online release plan may have backfired, or at least, a reviewer may hope.

Mr. Howe was unable (possibly unwilling) to view this film. I was not so lucky.

There were times during The Interview where I felt uncomfortable. Rogen comedies (which, for the record, I have enjoyed only once with This is the End, excluding his more serious role in 50/50, which was quite good) often are built around concepts sprung forth from the stoned, underdeveloped frontal lobe of the perpetual teenager. Such is it that the comedy belongs in a high-school locker room: Jokes about your privates, jokes about being gay, references to Katy Perry and hip-hop dialects. Add to this racial humour at the expense of North Koreans and you’ll begin to understand my level of discomfort.

Luckily, I watched this film by myself in my living room. I was spared the embarrassment of being seen associating with this awful, unfunny and valueless film.

It’s a shame really, because the concept itself, “two idiots are given the opportunity to assassinate a world leader” could have been really funny. There are times when the absurdity of the premise nearly shone through and I just about became amused, but that was quickly squashed by immaturity. I did not laugh. I was not entertained.

Congratulations Sony, you tricked everyone into watching an expensive turkey that should have been released and forgotten, rather than be front page news.

– Taylor gives The Interview 1 magically reappearing finger out of 5.

Brian Taylor and Peter Howe are film reviewers based in Vernon, B.C.