People don’t give Seth Rogen enough credit. He’s actually had a pretty good streak of challenging, thought-provoking comedies like This is the End and Superbad. Not to mention that he seems to be a pretty solid director. So it makes me wonder why I’ve seen so many posts on Tumblr and the like asking, what was Seth Rogen thinking? Usually they describe The Interview as a comedy, usually putting adjectives like “dumb,” “wacky,” and yes, “shitty,” before it. But if you really think about it, Seth Rogen is an innovative and dangerous filmmaker. All of his movies are so distinct and yet you can always tell it’s a Seth Rogen movie. And nine times out of ten, they’re really good.

Case in point: The Interview. The film that Kim Jong Un himself called a “wanton act of terror.” And while the movie certainly does take quite a few jabs at Un personally, eventually having him die in a helicopter explosion, the film actually wisely chooses to stay away from mocking the tragedies that befall the North Korean people, handing the topic with surprising delicacy and making Kim Jong Un the butt of the joke (literally) without trivializing the importance of the issue.

It’s like what I’ve always said about rape jokes. Have I ever heard a rape joke I found funny? No. Have I ever made a rape joke? No. But I do believe it’s possible, should it be told in a way that makes the rapist the bad guy and doesn’t trivialize the weight of their actions, to make a rape joke funny. And that’s how I feel about this movie. It’s a tastefully-done rape joke. You have all the right to be offended by it, but given the subject matter, they couldn’t have done it much better.

Rogen and his partner-in-crime Evan Goldberg wisely decided to go for a more non sequitur sense of humor for this movie, with jokes ranging from Seth Rogen having his fingers bitten off to Eminem coming out as homosexual. Now, Rogen isn’t exactly known for his subtlety, but this film does have some suspense and surprises that add to the spy thriller aspect of the movie.

I feel like I should bring up the real stars of the movie: James Franco and Randall Park (by the way, kudos on getting a Korean guy to play Un, which is something a lot of movies fail to do when casting Asian roles). Park does an excellent job portraying Un about how the general US public sees him: an unstable, insecure man with some unresolved daddy issues and a love for basketball. I was expecting at least one terribly racist moment, so I guess the movie sort of surprised me in that respect. Park also displays some serious acting chops, especially in the climax, though I wouldn’t want to give too much away.

When the movie did that MTV special before the VMA’s earlier this year, the main problem people noticed was that Franco didn’t have much of a character to work with. Dave Skylark was just kind of, a guy. He made some inappropriate comments and pissed off some celebrities, but he didn’t really stick out, and it felt like they were trying to make him stick out through various gimmicks. But Franco really does hold his own in this movie, and his eccentric, full-of-himself, easily-swayed character turns out to be a lot more unique and memorable than anyone expected.

Overall, I’ll have to give this movie an A-. It was funny, fast-paced, action-packed, and not nearly as insensitive as I expected. Like this review if you like this review, follow me if you ain’t no punk, don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @BreakingPOORLY, and as always…

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