Well, that's 85 minutes of my life I'll never get back. Observe and Report
is mean with ugly characters in disturbing situations, which would be fine with me if it were in the least bit funny. Labeled a comedy, there's next to nothing to laugh at in Observe and Report
You know, I have no problem at all with lines of dialogue sprinkled liberally with 'fks' and 'sh-ts' if, and this is the catch, there's a reason and if it's not overdone. I don't know a single human being who uses the word 'fk' in every sentence. But in Observe and Report
, the word's used so often it goes beyond irritating and becomes absurd.
Seth Rogen's a talented guy and in general I laugh when I'm supposed to at pretty much everything he does. But Rogen, playing his darkest, most unlikeable character yet, can't save this disjointed, caustic film from failing to generate any good chuckles. It's great Rogen's trying something different here, but this isn't the right material to use to spread his acting wings.
Seth Rogen as mall cop Ronnie Barnhardt.
© Warner Bros Pictures
Ronnie Barnhardt (Rogen) is a mall cop excuse me, the head of mall security who lusts after a big boobed, plumpy lipped cosmetics girl named Brandi (Anna Faris
). When a flasher targets women at his mall, the opportunity presents itself for Ronnie to be the hero, take down the flasher, and get the girl. But Ronnie's prone to violence, delusional, and off his bipolar meds so when a real police detective (Ray Liotta) butts in on what he believes is his case, Ronnie goes off the deep end. The film then takes a serious turn to the dark side, and Ronnie who's never a likable guy in the first place becomes someone you'd never in your life want to encounter in a mall or elsewhere on the planet.
The Bottom Line
Anna Faris can make even a very bad movie worth watching. Faris can normally be depended upon to deliver the laughs, and in fact one line of hers (delivered during the most uncomfortable/controversial scene of the film) is the best thing about this movie. But neither Faris nor Rogen are capable of making Observe and Report
into anything other than a flatlined comedy without heart, soul, or any depth.
Seth Rogen in 'Observe and Report.'
© Warner Bros Pictures
Writer/director Jody Hill (The Foot Fist Way
and Eastbound and Down
) could have had a hit with this concept, but somewhere in the execution things went really, really wrong. I think
we're never supposed to like Ronnie at any point in this film, and that's fine. But to make a character so unappealing, so repulsive and expect to get some laughs out of his dangerous antics is simply ludicrous. Audiences don't have to empathize with Ronnie or approve of his behavior, but we do have to have something to latch onto about the guy to keep us involved and entertained. Hill never throws us that lifeline.
Shockingly violent, uneven and choppy, Observe and Report is definitely not what you'd expect from the trailers. Anything that could count as comedy is showcased in those promotional clips. The rest is sort of painful to watch and not really worth observing or reporting on.
Observe and Report is rated R for pervasive language, graphic nudity, drug use, sexual content and violence.
Theatrical Release Date: April 10, 2009