Monday, August 1, 2016

Movie Review: "Observe and Report" (2009)

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Movie"Observe and Report"
Director: Jody Hill
Year: 2009
Rating: R
Running Time: 1 hour, 26 minutes

An overzealous security guard takes it upon himself to play investigator in order to stop a pervert who has been flashing random mall patrons.

Written and directed by Jody Hill, "Observe and Report" is a dark, offbeat comedy about a bi-polar mall security guard with delusions of grandeur. It stars Seth Rogen as Ronnie, the aforementioned security guard. Ronnie sees his position as one with a lot more authority than it actually has. When a flasher starts exposing himself to random mall patrons and employees, including Brandi, played by Anna Faris, who Ronnie has a huge crush on, he jumps into action and begins behaving as if he were a full-fledged police detective. Ronnie swears he will do whatever it takes to bring this pervert to justice. When the actual police get involved, Ronnie sees it as a slight against his ability to do his job properly and proceeds to constantly interfere with their investigation, much to the chagrin of lead detective Harrison, played by Ray Liotta.

Oddly enough, "Observe and Report" came out the same year as "Paul Blart: Mall Cop." Despite some similarities in their plots, those thinking this will be as silly and stupid as that godawful dumpster fire of a movie couldn't be more wrong and will be in for a huge shock. Being a dark comedy, this film often deals with typically taboo subject matters handled in an ironic or satirical manner. The subjects and situations here may even downright offend some viewers. Those expecting the typical Seth Rogen stoner comedy fare may walk away disappointed because this is a much different, much more serious, much more out there film.

Those who want to see Rogen in a different type of role, or people who are fans of dark comedies will most likely walk away a least a little pleasantly surprised. The characters aren't completely likable. Faris plays a nasty, self-centered bitch who thinks she's all that and a bag of chips but really treats everyone like trash. Rogen's Ronnie is completely oblivious to his own delusions. He is a violence first gun-nut whose whole life is his job, and we get the sense he may possibly even be mentally disabled, though his oblivious nature can make him sympathetic at times. It's not just the main characters that are like this. Michael Peña's Dennis, a coworker of Ronnie's, is a kleptomaniac, Ray Liotta's Harrison is a straight-up asshole for little to no purpose, Ronnie's mom is a huge fact, now reflecting back upon the film, we don't think there's many other likable characters other than Ronnie, and we only like him sporadically, and Nell, played by Collette Wolf, who can be pretty whiny. A lot of these people are cruel to each other, although this can kind of be the point in these types of darker comedies. They are supposed to make you laugh at things you aren't supposed to laugh at, and we laughed quite a bit at this slightly twisted film.

We enjoyed "Observe and Report" overall despite a couple of truly cringe-worthy moments. The acting is solid all around. Rogen is able to be sarcastic and endearing at the same time. Faris plays the bitchy role well, though we're not sure if she'd see that as a compliment. We were not really sure what to think about this film before watching it and walked away from it feeling like it has a lot to say about being misunderstood, being in a job that doesn't value you as an employee, abuse of authority, and mental health. Other viewers might feel the absolute opposite, but we are rather impressed with this satirical, sarcastic, mildly awful movie.

My Rating: 7.5/10
BigJ's Rating: 7.5/10
IMDB's Rating: 5.8/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 50%
Do we recommend this movie: Sure, why not?
One year ago, we were watching: "Cecil B. Demented"

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