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Laramie Movie Scope:
The Interview

That crazy, silly comedy North Korea doesn't want you to see

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by Robert Roten, Film Critic
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February 25, 2015 -- I finally got to see this movie, which didn't make it to Laramie prior to its video release because most theater chains who were too chicken to show it. I paid my $2 at Red Box and watched the blu-ray of this movie last night on my home theater screen -- my own tiny act of defiance against North Korea.

This turns out to be a funny movie, at least here and there. Sure, it's silly and there is the usual bottom-feeding scatological humor you expect from Seth Rogen's brand of comedy (he co-wrote and co-directed this film) but it does have its moments. It shares some themes (and the blood and gore) found in Rogen's recent hit movie “This is the End,” but the two main characters, played by Rogen and James Franco (who was also in “This is the End” -- which Rogen also co-wrote, co-directed and co-starred in) are good guys this time, not evil.

Franco plays Dave Skylark, host of a successful celebrity TV interview show, while Rogen plays his producer, Aaron Rapaport. Aaron is smart, driven and interested in real news. Skylark is a shallow guy who just wants to have fun. After celebrating their 1,000th episode together, Skylark finds out that Kim Jong-un, the North Korean dictator, is a fan of his show. Knowing that Aaron is fed up with junk news, he proposes an interview with Kim Jong-un.

At first, Aaron is skeptical. He knows how reclusive Kim Jong-un is, but he makes a request for an interview through back channels. To his amazement, the North Korean leader agrees to the interview on his terms -- his questions and the interview is to be conducted at his house in North Korea.

As soon as the interview is announced, the boys get a visit from sexy CIA operative Agent Lacy (played by Lizzy Caplan) who easily seduces Skylark into agreeing to the crazy plan of having him assassinate Kim Jong-un with a slow-acting poison introduced with a transdermal strip. Skylark is to put the deadly strip on his hand and shake hands with Kim Jong-un, killing him.

Kim Jong-un, played by Randall Park (“Neighbors”) is a cunning, slippery character. He makes friends with Skylark, who decides not to kill him after all. This leads to all kinds of complications involving a drone delivery of more poison, more scatological humor, a tiger and some North Koreans who have had their fill of Kim Jong-un's crazy leadership.

We see some major character changes as Skylark decides to be a real journalist, then he and Aaron become soldiers and heroes, leading to three or four fingers being bitten off, lots of blood, lots of fighting, gun battles and a full scale battle with armored vehicles, helicopters and nuclear-tipped missiles. It's all quite silly and enjoyable, except for the graphic violence in the film. Do we really need to see men being crushed to death under a tank, and blood spraying all over people at a dinner party -- all those fingers being bitten off?

I didn't laugh at all that blood and gore, but I did laugh at some of the running jokes about junk news shows about celebrities. That kind of stuff is close to the truth. It is hard to make fun of junk news because it is even sillier than the junk news in this movie. It is funny to think that junk news guys could become real heroes and save the world. It would never happen, and that's the joke, at least one of them. This film rates a C+.

Click here for links to places to buy or rent this movie in digital formats, or to buy the soundtrack, posters, books, even used videos, games, electronics and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

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Copyright © 2015 Robert Roten. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
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Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at my last name at lariat dot org. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]

(If you e-mail me with a question about this or any other movie or review, please mention the name of the movie you are asking the question about, otherwise I may have no way of knowing which film you are referring to)