I’ve read the negative reviews and articles:
- + “The Real Problem With “The Interview” Is Its Racism, Not Its Satire”
- + 'The Interview's' Kim Jong Un actor, Randall Park, knew it was 'insane'
- + Seeing The Interview doesn't hurt North Korea and Kim Jong Un — it helps them
(and the Sony email leaks, a totally different story on race in the film industry): Here’s a timeline of the Sony Hack
Yet this winter break, I found myself actually wanting to watch The Interview. I had watched the earlier trailers last summer and found them funny. I was also binge watching similar stupid comedy films like 21 Jump Street and We’re the Millers over winter break and was in the mood for more. I am also a fan of Randall Park (side note: can’t wait for Fresh Off The Boat!) who played Kim Jong Un in The Interview. I had to see the film.
Before watching the film, I knew it would mostly likely confirm its already criticized racism, sexism, dualism, and other unpleasant –isms. I knew Seth Rogen and James Franco films were usually ridiculous. I also knew that some people who read the reviews and articles before watching it would never want to watch it, some people would want to watch it as an “act of freedom of expression,” others, like me, were curious to see for themselves.
…And did it live up to my expectations?
Yes. I have to say that this isn’t Seth Rogen and James Franco’s best work. The funniest parts were the parts cut into the trailers. The rest is, quite frankly, what I would call “bromance comedy." I’m just glad I watched it so I could create my own opinions. It was difficult to put all prejudice aside after reading the reviews and articles before watching, and spotting the blaring –isms throughout the film slightly detracted from my enjoyment. For example, there is an obvious contrast between the way Seth Rogen and James Franco’s characters both treat Lizzy Caplan’s character, a righteously strong, independent woman, versus Diana Bang’s character, a crazy weird Dragon lady with some quirky shy Lotus Blossom stereotypes mixed in. Not to mention that the other Asian women who appear in the film are hyper sexualized.
What does it say about mainstream media that the APIA women in the film were so stereotyped? What if the actress is knowingly portraying her own racial stereotypes to an audience who still sees some of those stereotypes as true (see Margaret Cho in Golden Globes skit)? I'm sure no Asian girl wants to grow up to be any of the Asian characters in The Interview. Does that make Seth Rogen and James Franco's characters offensive to White people? I'm also sure that no White boy would want to grow up to be Seth Rogen and James Franco's characters. Seth Rogen and James Franco's characters may be offensive to some White people, but that does not matter because there are millions of other films portraying White people as admirable beings. To this day, the continuous lack of diversity in Hollywood makes any representation of a person of color in a movie important to viewers of color.
Pretty much all of the characters in The Interview, regardless of race, were there for comedic relief (in this case, the forced comedy was not very funny). The question we should ask ourselves is whether or not we always have to be so politically correct because comedy rarely is.