Saturday, April 11, 2009
Movie Reviews: OBSERVE AND REPORT
OBSERVE AND REPORT
As head of security at the Forest Ridge Mall, Ronnie Barnhardt (Seth Rogen) takes his job very seriously, enforcing mall rules with an iron fist. When a flasher strikes Forest Ridge, Ronnie sees a chance to display his unappreciated cop skills and bring the felon to justice, and, at the same time, impress his dream girl (Anna Faris) and win a coveted spot at the police academy.
Cast: Seth Rogen, Ray Liotta, Michael Peña, Anna Faris, Dan Bakkedahl
Director: Jody Hill
Opened .April 10, 2009
Runtime: 1 hr. 26 min.
Rated R for sexual content, violence, pervasive language, graphic nudity and drug use.
Genres: Black Comedy, Comedy
If you are going into Observe and Report expecting to see the same Seth Rogan you’ve seen in his Judd Apatow films you’ll be sorely disappointed here. Observe and Report is about as non mainstream as comedy come. Director Writer Jody Hill pushes his film near or over every boundary and isn’t afraid to test the audiences, a long full frontal flasher scene comes to mind, and prod them to see how much we can take. This film is funny but not in the way you’d expect from the advertising. It’s the darkest kind of humor mixed with some truly brutal set pieces that are as funny as they are brutal. Seth Rogan totally breaks from his usual lovable loser shtick and gives Ronnie a complexity and depth that’s shockingly impressive. He shows the type of range that I didn’t know he was capable of and makes me think that if this would have been a straight drama it could have been a kid brother to Taxi Driver. Ronnie is a sad even pathetic individual whose delusions of grandeur are incredibly out of reach. Anna Faris also delivers a slightly off kilter performance, her character isn’t the sweet lovable bimbo from The House Bunny. Instead she’s fairly despicable self centered individual who’s as vapid as she is vain. Ray Liotta is effective as the detective who butts heads with Ronnie while working on the flasher case. Michael Peña is memorable as Ronnie’s right hand man who works his perm as well as his lisp. Veteran actress Celia Weston does fine work her in a small role as Ronnie’s boozy yet sweet mother. Aziz Ansari also has a small but memorable role as a mall vendor whose has a slight dislike for Ronnie. Most of these characters are just horrible or unbalanced individuals; Collette Wolfe’s Nell, who’s smitten with an oblivious Ronnie, is sweet and lovable. Jody Hill’s direction is sharp and aggressive, keeping the eye interested in what’s occurring even in some of the most mundane sequences. There’s a sharp shift from humor to sadness that borders on poignant. It’s the type of film that keeps you off balance and unsure of what to expect from one moment to the next. Observe and Report is a daring follow up to Jody Hill’s first film, The Foot Fist Way, and one that might surprise and shock a lot of people.