Observe And Report


Directed by: Jody Hill
Written by:Jody Hill
Starring: Seth Rogen, Ray Liotta, Michael Pena, Anna Faris, Dan Bakkedahl, Celia Weston
Released: May 14, 2009
Grade: B+
  
Seth Rogen would be one of the hottest comedic actors working in the movie business today. In the past two years, he’s featured in Knocked Up, Superbad, Pineapple Express and Zack & Miri Make A Porno. I’d recommend all four of those films to anyone looking for a laugh.

I’m also giving the thumbs up to his latest effort, Observe & Report, but this particular recommendation comes with an asterisk. This movie is a lot darker than you might expect. There were plenty of a giggles from the audience when I attended the preview screening earlier this week but there were also a few patrons who left well before the end.

Ronnie Barnhardt (Rogen) is the head security guard at a large shopping mall. He suffers from bi-polar disorder and continually takes medication for his condition. It doesn’t seem to be doing a lot of good and Ronnie has trouble connecting with other people. There’s a scene where he tries to ask a cosmetics sales girl (Faris) out on a date but he comes across weird and creepy. Another sales guy has a restraining order against Ronnie. It’s a wonder that he’s been able to keep his job.

Let me stop to remind everyone that this isn’t a disturbing drama – it’s just an offbeat comedy. I guess you can see now why people walked out. Anyway, the crux of the story centres around a serial "flasher" who has been exposing himself to shoppers in the parking lot. Ronnie thinks he can become the hero and catch the guy. He’s very unhappy with the fact that the mall manager has brought in the police to help get the job done.

There is some strange stuff in this film but I had to laugh. It’s good to see a comedy which is prepared to take a few risks. I think Seth Rogen is terrific and there are some great supporting performances from Celia Weston (who plays Ronnie’s intoxicated mother) and Ray Liotta (who plays a cop determined to embarrass Ronnie).

Clocking in at just under 90 minutes, Observe & Report is a nicely paced comedy with a nasty undercurrent. It makes for good viewing and good conversation afterwards.