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The Interview: The Review

December 24, 2014

Amongst all the hoopla of who hacked whom and who will wage war against whom, the film The Interview was released online today via Google Play, YouTube Movies, and Xbox Video. You can watch it for only $5.99 to rent or $14.99 to purchase. The film is also being released in select theaters across the nation on Christmas day. In the interest of reviewing films, one of the many things I write about here on my blog, and in the interest of defying a mentally unstable world leader’s threats of annihilation, I rented The Interview. I felt it was my patriotic duty.

I initially assumed that this film would be a typical Seth Rogen vehicle that I would not find even the slightest bit humorous. My initial assumption was correct. What makes something funny? Surprise. Leading the audience in one direction and then at the last minute surprising them with the unexpected is almost a sure fire way to make them laugh. The Interview, on the other hand, telegraphed nearly every punch line. The audience was able to get there before the punch line was ever delivered. If you assume that your audience isn’t smart enough to get there ahead of you (then again I feel that Seth Rogen fans probably can’t) and you need to spend too much time setting up the joke, you’re going to lose the audience’s attention. I wanted to stop watching several times, but the $6 I spent and knowing I needed to finish the film in order to review it, kept me tuned in.

Another way to screw up a comedy is to overuse a punch line. There is an unwritten rule of three. The third time you speak a funny line or act out a funny motion leads, most of the time, to a laugh. Seth Rogen is famous for dragging out and overdoing a funny line or action. Eventually you just want them to get on with the scene and end the torture. We’ve got it already! Let’s move on! Rogen often drags out scenes with too much dialogue that reiterates what was initially intended to be funny, but now has become just sad and tiresome.

This leads me to the dialogue. As I consider myself to be a Dialogue Architect, I put a lot of weight in dialogue. I consider one of the masters of great dialogue to be Aaron Sorkin. Aaron does an amazing job of using witty dialogue that captivates and entertains. He uses innuendo and sarcasm to pull you along. Rogen tends to write what we refer to in the industry as “on the nose” dialogue. This can be overused clichés or dialogue that isn’t needed because the actions of the actor infer it. Rogen often babbles about the exact actions his character is doing in the scene. It’s overkill and bores the audience. It happens frequently in The Interview.

I rate The Interview a typical Seth Rogen film. If you enjoy them, you’ll enjoy this one. If you don’t… well. Either way, I suggest you at least rent this film for the minimal $6 fee. Why? Because it’s your patriotic duty as an American citizen. Or, if you’d rather not subject yourself to mindless drivel, spend your money on a Subway foot-long. Not only will you feel better about yourself, you’ll have change left over.

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