Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Observe and Report (2009)

Starring Seth Rogen, Ray Liotta, Anna Faris, Collette Wolfe, et al
Rated R, 86 minutes

It's that other mall cop movie from 2009. Seth Rogen is Ronnie Barnhardt, top dog in security at the Forest Ridge Mall. In our opening scene, a flasher runs wild in the parking lot. Ronnie goes on a crusade to catch him, but gets diverted by a little bit of love, a little bit of mall thievery, and a chance to be a full-fledged cop who carries a gun.

This movie was largely no B.S. Sure, it took some time to rev up the funny, but it delivered in the end. Sadly, "Observe and Report" was out-performed by the inferior "Paul Blart: Mall Cop." I'm not so sure that being the second mall cop movie in four months was its biggest obstacle, though. Seth Rogen is perhaps a rare example of too much of a good thing. He's been the lead or co-lead in a lot of successful movies lately. And he's great in a vast majority of them. Maybe audiences felt they didn't need to see every single one. Maybe Seth plays characters that are too similar to warrant total moviegoer devotion.

This was roughly on par with the others, though; proud to be R-rated, with a "fuck" count in "Scarface" territory. Ray Liotta is the detective who butts heads with Seth's character. Anna Faris is the love interest. Neither was particularly inspired in their roles, but the script left all the comic heavy lifting to Seth anyway.

Like Paul Blart, Ronnie Barnhardt is stepped on by a society that doesn't take mall security seriously. However, Ronnie has a ton more bluster, and doesn't admit vulnerability until near the end of the runtime. Plus he's bipolar, which puts a lot of fun dysfunction onto the screen.


Perhaps lost in a crowded sea of recent comedies - many featuring Seth Rogen somewhere - this movie more-than-ably entertained with some dark laughs.

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