From left, Diana Bang, Seth Rogen and James Franco in 'The Interview'
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Tottering towards the titters it was originally made for, bloodied and more than a little bowed, The Interview finally makes it from US to UK and selected outposts worldwide. If ever a proverb was put through a stress test it has been “There’s no such thing as bad publicity.” Try telling that to the famous Japanese distributors. Here is a film they strove to stop being served Sony side up, or indeed at all. Amazingly it is now put before us over easy(ish), over here and only mildly overdue.

As a movie it proves everything it was cracked down to be. The biggest guffaws are the most inadvertent — the script seems written on a shtick and a prayer — while buffoonish bromance blooms everywhere. You’d expect this in a comedy from Seth Rogen, star, co-writer, co-director. On screen his TV producer, James Franco’s chat show host and even (in a second-half comradely bender with Franco) Randall Spook’s Kim Jong Un, the story’s interview/assassination target, all come from the same mixing bowl. Saturday Night Live frat humour. Stir in anal jokes (a level shovelful) and gross-out gore and top with a shock climax that should be a shoo-in for the Worst Taste in a Black Comedy (Ever) Oscar.

Surprisingly, The Interview is often funny. Unsurprisingly, it often isn’t. It’s an uneven, designer-silly fun piece that somehow came close to starting the digital age’s first world war. That, not the movie itself, should be the cue for a large if scary round of cosmic laughter.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2017. All rights reserved.

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