Observe and Report
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Observe and Report (DVD)
At the Forest Ridge Mall, head of security Ronnie Barnhardt patrols his jurisdiction with an iron fist, combating skateboarders, shoplifters and the occasional unruly customer while dreaming of the day when he can swap his flashlight for a badge and a gun. That day comes when the mall is struck by a flasher and Ronnie Barnhardt chooses to do more on the job than just Observe and Report. Seth stars as Barnhardt, whose delusions of grandeur drive him to showcase his underappreciated law enforcement talents, hoping to nab the flasher and win the heart of his elusive dream girl, Brandi (Anna Faris--Mama's Boy), the hot makeup-counter girl. However, Barnhardt's actions launch a turf war with equally competitive Detective Harrison of the local police department. Now, Barnhardt must not only catch the flasher, but he must do it before the real police can in this ribald comedy.]]>
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Rogen's work as Ronnnie is strong and deeper than you'd think; Ronnie's a fool and a weakling, but he occasionally has flashes of decency, and Rogen captures Ronnie's struggle toward goodness with the befuddled look of a dumb, loyal dog. Observe and Report is decidedly not for kids (try Paul Blart: Mall Cop instead...or don't), but grown-ups with a taste for the bizarre and bleak will find it as haunting as it is hilarious.
So Observe and Report follows a mentally deranged mall cop Ronnie Barnheart, who takes his job far too seriously. The whole movie is basically a running gag of how delusional and psychotic Ronnie is as he tries to step up his game and join the New Mexico police force, and it worked for me. His character goes through some hardships and reality hits him hard at some parts, however it doesn't seem like he really learned anything new at the end, he's still the same deranged psychopath we're introduced to, and I liked that darker ending instead of him smiling with a family or something. As I mentioned above Observe and Report takes the whole man-child comedy genre and flips it on it's head, and that's the main reason I liked it so much, hopefully more dark comedies screw around with that tired formula.
The weird thing about Observe and Report though is it seems to be on the fence about how it's played out, there's a predictable love story tacked on which seemed unnecessary and they needed that part soley for marketing purposes, a confrontation at the end where Ronnie assaults police officers that seemed to have no consequences for him, which was very strange considering there's consequences for the rest of his actions. Ronnie's 'crew' were also criminally underdeveloped, I know they're basically just his yes-men but we saw no insight into why they're following this lunatic's orders, Dennis was still pretty funny and had some more character to him but the two Asian twins literally do nothing but say 'yes' and wave to Ronnie.
Overall Observe and Report isn't something most movie-going audiences will be interested, the laughs are more character and situation driven than actual jokes, and if soemone asked me "well what was a funny part" I wouldn't really know what to say because there aren't really any one-liners, it's all situational. Seth Rogen's acting as a psychopath isn't a great performance but I do appreciate that he's trying something new that isn't cheesy like Will Ferral's 'dramedies'. Fans of Eastbound and Down however will no doubt enjoy this movie, as it retains Jody Hill's style of comedy. Observe and Report feels like an uncertain but confident first step in a new type of comedy I'm hoping to see more of.
P.S. the soundtrack is great