Dave Skylark (James Franco) and his producer Aaron Rapoport (Seth Rogen) are the team behind the popular tabloid-TV show "Skylark Tonight." After learning that North Korea's Kim Jong Un (Randall Park) is a huge fan of the show, they successfully set up an interview with him, hoping to legitimize themselves as actual journalists. However, as Dave and Aaron prepare for their journey to Pyongyang, the CIA steps in, recruits them, and assigns them an incredible mission: Assassinate the dictator.
Now this film was always going to suffer in my opinion. With all of the extra "hype" around cyber-terrorism threats from North Korea (I use quotation marks because I have no way to be able to tell whether the threats were real or not) it is hard to not have high expectations for gore or offensiveness aimed at the North Koreans.
I watched it twice, the first while tipsy, the second while stone cold sober, and I was disappointed to find that neither time did I laugh at any of the "jokes" (Again I use quotation marks because I don't know whether it was really meant to be funny or not). As a film that sets about to mock the North Koreans, their beliefs, and to assassinate their leader, it does well to do so in a way that isn't over the top. Kim Jong Un is not portrayed as an incompetent idiot, neither is he shown as a cold blooded killer. Everything is dealt in subtle hints and inferences until the climax of the film.
Much about this film disappointed me, and it didn't really appeal to me at all, but I must be honest with myself; I HATE Seth Rogen with a passion. I can't take him seriously, and so I could very well be too harsh and critical of the film. Graphically, the film is great. Scenes are shot well, the majority of the casting was convincing, special effects were impressive, and the film moved along with fluidity.
So if you enjoy James Fraco and Seth Rogen, you will love this film. If you enjoy stereotypes and repetitive jokes, then you will love this film. But for me, it failed to captivate me. Now that I have seen it, I have no urge to ever see it again; It fell well below my expectations.
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