By Ian Swanson - 12/25/14 08:30 AM EST
Movie critics say the controversy surrounding “The Interview” is much more interesting than the movie itself
The movie is scoring just a 50 percent positive review from critics on the Rotten Tomatoes website.
The film is doing better with regular fans, however. It gets a 73 percent “liked it” audience score from Rotten Tomatoes.
Critics say the satire about a television host and producer asked by the CIA to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jung-un doesn’t deliver the goods.
“Characterizing it as satire elevates the creative execution of the film's very silly faux assassination of North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un far beyond what it merits,” writes Betsy Sharkey in the Lost Angeles Times.
In the Village Voice, Stephanie Zacharek writes that “The Interview” is “contrived absurdity” and that it has very little payoff for all the trouble it caused.
Slate’s Aisha Harris argues that those looking for a satire of North Korea are better off re-watching “Team America: World Police,” the puppet movie created by the makers of “South Park” more than a decade ago.
One performance does stand out in the move, according to several reviewers.
Randall Park, who plays Kim Jung-un and is (SPOILER ALERT) blown to smithereens in the movie, is a “riot throughout,” according to Roger Friedman of The Independent, who gives the film a positive review.
Sharkey also singles out Park’s performance as the highlight of the movie.
Sony Pictures initially pulled “The Interview” from its scheduled Christmas Day release after hackers threatened to stage September 11-style attacks at theaters that showed it.
Major movie theater chains then said they would not carry the film, which North Korea had declared an act of war given its plot.
Sony reversed itself this week, announcing it would not only screen the movie in select theaters, but that it had worked out deals with several companies to show the movie online and on-demand.
President Obama in a press conference last week had criticized Sony’s initial decision to pull “The Interview’s” release, arguing it would give a victory to North Korean efforts to repress speech.
The FBI has linked the hacking of Sony to North Korea, though that country’s government has denied involvement.