FTF Boo Rating
1 is good, 5 is bad.
I laughed a lot in this film, and really it wasn’t all that bad at all. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t good, but I like Seth Rogan and I would have wanted to see this even if it hadn’t been for all the boring fuss. It’s exactly what you should expect from Seth Rogan and James Franco. Their films are kind of like masturbation – they’re completely forgettable but fun none the less. Right after watching it I decided I only had one complaint so I wasn’t going to review it. But I’ve carried on thinking about that complaint and I’ve decided it’s more than enough to warrant a spot on this site.
My problem is the constant gay jokes. And look, I’m not one of those unbearable people who are desperate to be offended and go out of their way to interpret any sentence in the most damning way possible simply so they can express their faux outrage all over the internet. When Benedict Cumberbatch recently rather clumsily used the word “coloured” to describe black people, the internet exploded in a frothy crotched climax of fury, completely and wilfully ignoring the fact he was talking about inequality being a bad thing. I’m sure the only reason he used the word “coloured” in the first place was that the perpetually furious masses have made every celebrity so terrified of saying the wrong thing that he wasn’t sure if he was allowed to use the word “black” to describe a black person anymore. He panicked and picked a word he thought was OK, but he got it wrong and picked one that wasn’t. Did anyone believe that Cumberbatch was racist because of this statement? Of course they didn’t, but he used the wrong word so people felt justified and righteous when they took out their shitty lives on him. The lives these people lead make me very sad. It must be horrible to be so easily tipped into uncontrollable fury. Looking at some of the comments people made regarding Cumberbatch, it’s clear to me that I have never once in my life been as angry as thousands of people apparently were because a man they had never met said a word they didn’t like.
So, with that sub-text established let me express not my outrage, but my opinion. Comedy should stop using gay as a punch line. So much of The Interview relied on the incredibly unimaginative assertion that it would be funny if someone who wasn’t gay did something that was a bit gay. Or that it would be insulting for someone to be called gay if they weren’t gay. Eminem came out as gay, Rogen and Franco exchanged various gay based insults, Kim Jong Un was sad because his dad called him gay, Margarita’s were too gay etc etc etc.
I wasn’t offended by it, and I’m not sure I would have even if I were gay. In the same way I do not believe there is any possibility that Cumberbatch is a racist because he used the word “coloured”, I don’t believe that Rogen and Franco are homophobic because they made some gay jokes. But I found it out of place with the way I believe most people now see the world, and it just felt like it belonged in a different era. Granted, it wasn’t close to the gay-bashing horror of the 80’s, there was no malice there, but there was still meaning. And that’s ignoring the pretty important fact when it comes to a comedy that it just wasn’t funny. It was a lazy and incredibly dated way of getting a laugh.
The Interview is of course far from alone in this, but it felt to me like it was more guilty of it than any film I’ve seen made recently, and I don’t think it’s wrong to expect a higher standard from Rogen and Franco given their status as reasonably respected comedians. It’s not like it was Adam Sandler, who would actually be doing the world a favour if he made the same jokes as it would show everyone just how unfunny they were. But Rogen and Franco are funny and relatively respected, and they just made a film that dedicated a significant amount of time to what was at best gay-teasing and at worst blatant homophobia. The result was nobody said a single thing about it. At the same time Cumberbatch said the wrong word when making a positive statement and got destroyed for it. Something seems off.
Of course all of this could be complete rubbish, and it might not matter at all. It was just a joke after all. Maybe I should stop being so fucking gay about it.