Audiences are missing out on a funny film in Seth Rogen’s “The Interview”

Seth Rogen Visits New.Music.Live. at Bell Media Headquarters in Toronto on May 27 2013
I’m sure by now all of you are aware of the massive hacking situation going on over at Sony. Sadly, there’s a cinematic casualty in Seth Rogen’s The Interview. Rogen’s sophomore feature (he co-writes and co-directs with filmmaking partner Evan Goldberg) was already screening for press, myself included, and was getting set for a Christmas release, but that’s no more. The powers that be at Sony have decided to cancel the release of the movie, which is a shame on multiple levels. For one thing, it’s sort of letting the terrorists win (though I’ll stop myself from going on a rant). More simply however, its preventing audiences from seeing one of 2014’s funniest films, and that’s a real shame.

Having been one of the few to actually see the flick, I can vouch for how amusing it is. Though not quite as hilarious as Rogen’s prior outing This Is The End, The Interview is still a laugh riot, with a high concept to boot. Rogen co-stars, co-writes, and co-directs (Goldberg co-writes and directs, with Dan Sterling also working on the script) in the movie, which also features James Franco, Lizzy Caplan, and Randall Park, just to name a few. The story surrounds a talk show host (Franco) and his producer (Rogen) who score an interview with the leader of North Korea (Park). When this becomes public knowledge, the CIA and one of its agents (Caplan) recruit the two to pull off an assassination. What follows is often ridiculous, never PC, and almost always hilarious. It’s easily one of the five funniest films of the year. Of course, it could be some time before anyone finds that out.

The Interview is obviously not coming out this Christmas now, but when might it actually come out? Well, Sony has already announced that they currently have no plans to put it out on VOD or direct to Blu-Ray/DVD, so my best guess is that they’re going to wait a few months and then actually try to release it theatrically again. It’s either that or literally never releasing something they spent tens of millions of dollars on and know they can make a profit on. As such, perhaps even as soon as February, we might see the flick come out. If not, it might be over the summer. Something tells me we haven’t seen the last of it though. I certainly hope so, at least.

Now, this wasn’t going to ever be an Oscar player, but that’s almost besides the point. To me, this is about a company caving to basically terrorist demands and tempering freedom of expression. If the roles were reversed, I highly doubt that a film like this would be stopped. It’s just a sad situation that I really wish wasn’t happening. No one wins, and it’s just chaos. Worst of all, I believe that the Sony hackers put the movie out on the internet, so folks can still just steal it and watch it for free. I hate piracy, and this will only further the cause for people who think it’s just fine to steal movies online. Alas.

Going forward, I do wonder what will happen the next time something like this occurs. Will a studio cave again, or will they stand up? Earlier today’s news that Paramount won’t be allowing screenings of Team America: World Police to happen in place of The Interview, so the precedent continues to be less than stellar, in my book at least. It’s a sad situation overall for cinema, that much is clear.

In the end, I just wish you all could have the chance to decide for yourself if you want to see The Interview. That right’s been taken away from you currently, but perhaps it won’t be that way forever. My fingers are crossed…

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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