It’s hard to make a film that’s… not embarrassing,” says director Sydney Pollack. No worries there — The Interpreter functions as reasonably engrossing social-conscience hugger-mugger, with Kidman as a U.N. employee who overhears an assassination plot and Sean Penn in deep Harrison Ford mode as the fed who can’t decide whether to protect her or arrest her. But while danger lurks around every corner, so does Hollywood preposterousness: The ashen, blue-eyed Nicole Kidman makes one far-fetched African freedom fighter, especially when she’s tootling on that tribal flute. EXTRAS An even more preposterous alternate ending, deleted scenes, features on U.N. interpreters and location filming at the landmark edifice, and an amusing interview where Pollack beats his chest about the benefits of letterboxing. Would that the movie had shown as much passion.