So the set up here goes like this: James Franco plays Dave Skylark, the host of a celebrity tabloid show called Skylark Tonight. Seth Rogen plays the show’s producer Aaron Rapoport. Upon reaching episode 1,000, Rapoport starts to question his professional integrity based on episodes of his show showcasing Rob Lowe’s baldness or whether or not Eminem is gay. In order to validate himself professionally he decides to move the show in a different direction and takes a swing at serious journalism when the show gets the opportunity to interview Kim Jong-un, supreme leader of North Korea.
What starts as political satire quickly (d)evolves into a cheesy, action comedy which was disappointing. The film might have worked here but it went from something you could escape into to something that became pretty outrageous and barely watchable. The film becomes suspect when the CIA gets involved and wants to turn Skylark and Rapoport into assassins with the intent of killing Kim Jong-un. That was where my eyebrows went up. From there, the film goes downhill much faster…
As far as the writing goes, there are some clever and funny moments, but they’re few and far in-between in favor of more slapstick, poop jokes, and stupidity-based humor. Oh, and somehow both characters (who have never done anything action-oriented in their lives supposedly) seem to know how to fight, shoot guns and drive tanks. SPOILER: The real treat in the action comes during the fight sequence featuring fingers being bitten off (no, I’m not kidding, this happens multiple times).
The acting is ok but a little forced at spots. Franco’s character starts off somewhat fun but keeps getting bigger and more annoying as the film progresses. Eventually he becomes cartoony and a bit hard to watch. Rogen’s character is typical of the characters he usually plays – uptight but likes to party, clumsy but can shoot a gun, etc. Rogen seems to be a caricature of himself in each film he does nowadays without any kind of growth. The role he plays here could easily be switched with Pineapple Express or The Green Hornet (and that includes the slow-mo party segments). Is he even really trying anymore?
You may remember hearing of the hype surrounding the film when it was first released due to the threats from North Korea following the Sony hack. Well, preliminary reviews for the film weren’t great, just before the threats. The film was only delayed a very short time before it was released anyway, ignoring the threats and capitalizing on the hype. Hmmm, kind of begs the question if there was ever a threat in the first place…Either way, I wasn’t impressed.
reviewed by Sean McKnight