The controversy and subsequent international incident surrounding the movie The Interview could be the greatest hype job Hollywood had intentionally or unintentionally perpetrated. That's because without all the publicity, the film could have been a Christmas turkey rather than the plum pudding it has become. The movie, to use the title of one of Seth Rogen''s films, is superbad, It's neither funny, intelligent or even very controversial.
Columbia Studio bosses (part of Sony) knew well in advance the plot outline, that of having an American TV journalist assassinate the North Korean president, would be dynamite. But it's a good bet when they viewed the film for the first time they knew trouble would be more with ticket sales than with North Korea.
Rogen, who co wrote, directed and produced the film, has made his name in bawdy now generation comedies such as Pineapple Express, This is the End, Knocked Up and Zack and Miri Make a Porno. Sony execs were probably thinking something similar would be on tap with The Interview.
Imagine their surprise when the jokes and usual toilet humour didn't materialize. From my own perspective of being a Rogen fan, I could hardly keep from nodding off. The only comical thing about the film was the star's absurd attempt to kill Kim. In the end, what was supposed to be a comedy became a slapstick shoot-out with the the North Koreans.
Rather than risk a box office flop at Christmas, the North Korean controversy offered a legitimate opportunity to shelve the film until a possible better moment to release it.
But comedy is subjective and I may be missing something. Yet enough negative consumer reviews are coming in to make people wonder how they got suckered into paying to see the film. That's what the hype did...everything from cyber attacks, threats against people, which could be real, to President Obama scolding Sony for shelving the film.
So, when the whirlwind was still spinning, Sony relented and agreed to allow this turkey to grow wings taking it to indy cinemas all over America, where it has scored a sell-out killing and is now also online pay per view. The funny part of this is the joke is on the public who pay to see it.