The Interview (Film Review)

The Interview (Film Review)

So much controversy, over so little.

When The Interview was set to be released to theaters, it created such a stir that North Korea was deeply offended, and there were threats of terrorist attacks if the film was shown in the local cinemas.

So Hollywood backed down, instead making The Interview nearly immediately available through other sources, like via download and on Netflix, ensuring that people would get to watch the film, and capture the buzz that was surrounding it.

interview3Well, when all is said and done, I can understand why the North Koreans would be upset about the film, as it does not portray them in a very flattering (or unrealistic, mind you) light. And the majority of the film is making fun of their leader. So I guess there’s that as well. But at the end of the day, The Interview is some harmless fun that has a couple of funny moments, while the rest of the film kind of falls in to exactly what you would expect it to be.

James Franco and Seth Rogen are TV people, the on-air talent and the producer, who have the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to interview the reclusive Kim Jong Un, leader of North Korea, since he is a big fan of Franco’s TV entertainment news show. Since they will be closer to the man than anybody else, the CIA recruits them to try and assassinate the leader.

Seems easy enough, until Franco gets to know Kim, and begins to really like him- or at least the facade- of him.

Seth Rogen;James FrancoThe Interview is not really a hilarious comedy, although there are a couple of funny scenes. Franco and Rogen are always pretty good together, as we’ve seen in other films, stemming back from their days together on Freaks and Geeks, and Franco in particular plays (overplays) his part to some mild laughs. His first day spent with Kim is pretty funny, to be honest. Rogen plays his usual character, only with fewer great lines than he might be used to. He almost plays the straight man to Franco’s eccentric character.

As far as creating a message, there is nothing really new here. We know the way that things work in North Korea, and it is unfortunate the plight of the people there, living under a dictatorship full of lies and propaganda. The Interview provides us with no new insights or thoughts on how to deal with the questions in North Korea, it uses it more to poke fun at a country that we view as being backwards.

Through and through, The Interview is a 3/5 film. It has its moments of enjoyment, but there is really nothing special here. It gained popularity mostly from the controversy surrounding it, but like most films based on negative buzz, there isn’t much substance there once all is said and done. It is worth a casual watch, just to see what all the fuss is about, but not much more than that.

The Mindy Project: Season 2 (TV Review)

The Mindy Project: Season 2 (TV Review)

By the second season of The Mindy Project, this show has definitely found its formula, and is sticking with it.

At the end of the first year, Mindy was faced with a decision of whether or not to move to Haiti with her three-month boyfriend Casey on a volunteer mission. We see all of this play out at the beginning of Season 2.

The new formula for the show is that Mindy manages to snag another seemingly perfect boyfriend, falls for him too quickly, and then things blow up in her face, leaving her heartbroken and alone. Until the next perfect boyfriend comes along. We can’t help but feel that she is the one that is blowing it in all of these relationships, adding to the calamity that she is. Mindy is still cute and funny, but she is selfish and ignores what is happening in the lives of the people around her.

The second season of the show definitely takes on more of a dramedy role that in Season 1. Mindy’s life becomes more serious, while the lives of the supporting cast become more silly and extreme, in order to garner some laughs in what is still considered a sitcom. Things get complicated when Danny, her co-worker that we expect will have romantic implications from pretty much episode one of the show, becomes a romantic complication, the show starts vaulting towards the inevitable will-they-or-won’t they that has plagued pretty much every ensemble sitcom that I can remember. We all waited with baited breath to see if Ross and Rachel would ever get together in the first seasons of Friends, and their first kiss, after watching the prom video, was a great sitcom TV moment. We had waited for so long to see if it was going to happen, and there was a part of us that never knew if it ever would. Now, we know which lead characters are going to get together. Was there ever any doubt while watching New Girl that Nick and Jess would become an item? Nope. Same goes for The Mindy Project. We know that Mindy and Danny will get together, it is only a matter of time. It just depends if the writers and producers can keep us laughing for long enough while we patiently wait. Then, like most sitcom relationships, we will hate it once it happens.

The secondary characters.
The secondary characters.

While season 2 of The Mindy Project is fairly repetitive, it is still pretty fun to watch. We know unfortunate things are going to happen in Mindy’s love life, but it is still enjoyable to see the disasters she can create for herself. There are a lot of good guest stars in the second season, including the likes of James Franco, more from the guy who plays Ders in Workaholics (too lazy to look up his name), and Dennis from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (again, too lazy to look it up). The guest stars are usually fun additions to the show, and they don’t take over an episode when they arrive. Take the repeated appearances of Kevin Smith, for example. He is there as a side story, not as something central, and this works well for the show.

With 22 episodes of 22 minutes, you can actually pour through the second season pretty quickly, if you have the time. The show flows well together, and the plot is a continuation from week to week. Sure, the secondary characters, including Danny, have changed and become more caricatures as they have evolved, but this is another sitcom trapping. Like Joey getting increasingly dumber throughout Friends. They find their niche, and they go with it.

The best addition to the show in its second year is the inclusion of Adam Pally as a full-time member of the cast. He played Max on the underrated Happy Endings, and essentially is repeating his role here. But he is fun, and a good fit on the cast of this show.

If you enjoyed the first season, then the second maintains the pace set in the original, and it remains worth watching. I can see the decline of the show happening in its third year, of which I haven’t seen, or even know if it exists.

There are definitely worse things on Netflix than the second season of The Mindy Project. Enjoy!