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Thoughts on "Observe and Report" . . .

Posted by 2 Dollar Productions Monday, April 20, 2009

Worth Full-Price, Matinee or Rental: Rental. Maybe. 'Observe and Report' is a black comedy that is only occassionally funny, more often aggresively mean and yet neither particularly good or horribly bad. In addition, it won't lose anything on the translation to the small screen, and I think it might be somewhat more enjoyable waiting for that medium.

Will I Own It On DVD: Nope. Once was enough for me on this film.


1) 'Observe and Report' had been dividing critics into two camps - those who loved it and those who loathed it. There wasn't much in-between, and these polar opposite views were somewhat intriguing to me even though I felt from the previews and from reading about the tone of the movie that I would fall into the latter category. Strangely enough, I came down squarely in the middle with this project as I felt ambivalent about it walking out of the theater which disappointed me more than if I had flat-out hated the damn thing.


2) The movie concerns a mall security guard (Seth Rogen) who longs to be a police officer and when his mall is menaced by a flasher, he seizes the opportunity to garner respect and also romance the make-up counter girl of his dreams (Anna Faris).

On the surface, this sounds like a traditional comedy along the lines of 'Paul Blart: Mall Cop,' a project I never saw and will never see unless my eyeballs are taped open and I'm strapped to chair guarded by alligators. Anyway, 'Observe and Report' mixes genres as it throws a violent streak right out of 'Taxi Driver' into Rogen's character who becomes increasingly out of touch with reality and this forces occasionally brutal violence into the mix. The results are jarring and uneven, a combination that doesn't always misfire, but one that misses more often than it hits the target.

3) Rogen sheds his teddy bear with a filthy mouth persona of his previous films with a fairly unlikable turn as the titular head of mall security. You have to give him credit for giving himself over to the role, however, the dedication also means it's extremely hard to root for him to suceed which is a problem considering he's in virtually every single scene in the movie.

4) The supporting cast has some highlights with Michael Pena giving a fine performance as a fellow guard who idolizes Rogen. Faris displays her usually fine comic timing as the hard-partying mall beauty queen, but the movie fails to take full advantage of her skills by short-changing her on screen time. Finally, Ray Liotta as a real police officer investigating the mall flasher appears to be wearing a toupee (unconfirmed) and seems vaguely miscast.


5) As a public service announcement, I will say this is a hard 'R' movie mainly due to language and mostly due to the flasher's pale white penis which garners a surprisingly long amount of screen time. It's not a pretty sight as anyone who saw 'Sideways' can attest when a flabby white man is running amok with his johnson flapping in the wind, and the same is true in 'Observe and Report.'

Overrall, 'Observer and Report' is an odd film, part comedy mixed with ugly violence, and while you have to give credit to the project for mixing things up, the choices still don't lead to a particularly good film.

At one point in the film, a minor supporting character announces something to the effect of "I thought this would funny, but it's really kind of sad . . ." That statement sums up nicely how I felt about this movie.

-BDS

14 comments

  1. Heff Says:
  2. What's the deal with all these "peni" now making appearances in comedies ? Sheesh !

     
  3. JLee Says:
  4. Wow, thanks for the "warning". Think I'll skip it. I think it's weird how close to "Paul Blart" it is. Even the love interest in that reminds me a lot of Anna Faris. Wonder who copied who? I actually thought "Paul Blart" was funny/sweet, even though it's more of a family film, I liked it more than I thought I would.

     
  5. Heff - I know . . . that barrier has been broken and the dam has bust and now it's penis everywhere. Selah.

    Jlee - No problem as you should know what you're getting into & you've been warned. Ha. I figure 'Blart' would probably be fine for a family movie, but since I'm without children at the moment, I'm probably OK without it. Ha.

     
  6. Boxer Says:
  7. "will never see unless my eyeballs are taped open and I'm strapped to chair guarded by alligators"

    bwahahah - I say "you'll have to go Clockwork Orange on me" before I watch that crap.

    Seth Rogen, I fear, is diluting his talent. How many movies has he opened in the last three months? What happened to the stupid/happy movies of the past? I turned "Pineapple Express" off after 20 minutes because it seemed too violent for a "comedy". I told Mr.Boxer "either I'm getting too old for these movies, or they're not as good as they used to be". Then we watched HAMLET 2 BWAHAHAHAHAHAH.

     
  8. BostonPobble Says:
  9. I feel about this one the way you feel about Paul Blart. Of course, I felt that way about Paul Blart, too. It's only been since reading your reviews that I have realized what a real movie (comedy) snob I am. Hm.

     
  10. Boxer - This one is even darker than 'Express,' which had its moments thanks to James Franco (and before it got really violent as it tracked along). Mental note: Put Hamlet 2 in NetFlix bin . . .

    Bostonpobble - Comedy is a very dicey thing, and I only find about 1 in 5, maybe 1 in 10 projects to be interesting and/or funny. So, I think it's a very good thing that you're discerning (we'll go with that over snobbish. Ha).

     
  11. I saw an interview with Seth Rogan, and he commented about the sudden increase in penis shots in comedy. He said he was like, "That's where this is going? I'm going to have to show my penis from now on?" I guess now we know how the women feel.

     
  12. (not sure if that's the actual quote, even though I used quotation marks)

     
  13. Linda Says:
  14. Had a feeling you'd be out on this one. It just wasn't funny, and with Rogen and Farris in the cast, that was the expectation. Agree that it just left you feeling sad. Though the flasher running around the mall at the end did appeal to the 6th grader in me. All that naked flesh bouncing around gave me the giggles.

     
  15. Native Minnow - Read that as well, he was the 'Playboy' interview last month, and came off as a pretty likable, reasonable guy in my opinion. And I think your quote marks were fairly accurate if memory serves.

    Linda - Me too. I actually thought I would like it even less as it was only funny every once in awhile, and as you mentioned, it was disappointing given the cast. As for the flasher, I agree I laughed for awhile, then the scene dragged on too long and then it was jarring (you know what I mean), which like the movie, just left a bad taste for me.

     
  16. Miss Ash Says:
  17. Back to the real world, I have never even heard of this movie and it doesn't sound that great. I won't waste my time.

     
  18. idobcool Says:
  19. I have not seen this movie yet but I love Anna Faris...I want to marry her and I want her to marry me.

     
  20. Farzan Says:
  21. I think Ill wait for the Blu Ray release to rent it. I heard mixed things from people. Some saying it wasnt as funny as Superbad or Knocked Up, while others saying it was pretty good.

     
  22. Miss Ash - I knew the streak wouldn't last. Ha. But you're fine to skip this one . . .

    Idobcool - I like Anna Faris as well & she looks good in this movie which might recommend it higher to you given your own appreciation for her talent. Ha.

    Farzan - Probably a good idea. I found it nowhere near as funny as those other two you mentioned, and it's definitely a far different tone. But I think it might improve a bit by waiting for Blu Ray.

     

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