I finally watched The Interview the other night — the picture all the Sony Hacking fuss was about, now available on Netflix. A couple of laughs, mostly from self-mocking celebrities like Eminem, Rob Lowe and Katy Perry. Other than that, a big disappointment after the delightful This Is the End by the same gang. (But then This Is the End was all self-mocking celebrities, so maybe that tells us something!)
I couldn’t help but notice that this might be the first Hollywood movie in which the character of Barack Obama makes a veiled appearance. Remember how during the Bill Clinton years, the Hollywood left was always rewriting Clinton into the man they wished he was? Instead of the draft dodger of real life, Clinton became the former fighter pilot of Independence Day. Instead of a cheap and abusive adulterer, he was the misunderstood lover of American President. And so on. It was as if Hollywood was trying to auto-correct reality.
Well, this is sort of like that. James Franco plays Dave Skylark, a shallow and self-absorbed man who strikes a lot of pseudo-intellectual poses and, for some unknown reason, has a large public following. He is more interested in movie stars than real life, lives a life of luxury on other people’s dime and has no understanding whatsoever of the world situation he is tasked to deal with. Whenever he gets in trouble, he suggests that his friends sacrifice themselves in various ways to save him.
Sent to get rid of the tyrannical head of the North Korean slave state, Skylark abandons his mission when the tyrant easily cons him with fake shows of friendship. When Skylark attempts to confront the murderous thug with his crimes against humanity, the Dear Leader wrong-foots him by pointing out that America has a lot of people in prison. Hearing that, Skylark gets a frowny face because he’s shallow and stupid enough to think there’s some moral equivalence between the U.S. imprisoning its criminals and North Korea enslaving its entire citizenry!
It doesn’t take any great insight to see that Dave Skylark is based very closely on President Obama. The fantasy element comes in when Skylark rallies himself and saves the day.
But then, like Independence Day and American President, The Interview is only a movie. The left can dream, can’t it?