For the lucky few who have witnessed Jody Hill’s hilarious farce The Foot Fist Way know that Hill is one that can make a funny film. Anyone that has seen Knocked Up, Superbad, or Pineapple Express knows that Seth Rogen is one of comedy’s most promising actors. Putting Hill and Rogen together was a great move. For those of you that have seen Paul Blart:Mall Cop may have a bad taste in their mouths for anything to do with a mall cop. I’m here to tell you that the idea of a mall cop movie has been saved.
Observe and Report features Seth Rogen as Ronnie Barnhardt, a bi-polar head of mall security who takes his job very seriously. He is backed by his right hand man Dennis (played by Michael Pena), the Yuen twins, and Charles (a Captain Oleanders waiter…a nod to Foot Fist Way). His life is taken by storm when his mall is hit with a perverted flasher and a smooth thief. He is on the ball in the investigation, which he uses to pursue his dreams of becoming a real police officer and sweeping a ditsy make-up counter girl (Anna Farris) off her feet. He is put on hold in the pursuit by a detective (Ray Liotta), who views Ronnie as an incompetent buffoon. He has ups and downs in his journey, which leads to his discovery of his purpose in life…to be a hero. The film also stars Celia Weston as Ronnie’s drunk of a mother (the performance is brilliant, bu the way) and Foot Fist Way actress Collete Wolfe as a cashier at a Cinnabun-type place that takes a liking to Ronnie.
Seth Rogen is on his top game in this movie. He takes a reverse from his usual average Joe type performances and takes on a much darker role. His performance is like Paul Blart meets Travis Bickle. He takes a risk in the role but pulls it off. Celia Weston also provides a hilarious performance as Ronnie’s mom. Weston, a great character actor, does the role good by the way she plays it. Michael Pena, taking a turn from his usual dramatic roles, plays a definite goofball in this movie. He provides the film with a good deal of its many laughs. Ray Liotta and Anna Farris both do a good job as well. The character Rogen plays is one that is an interesting study. He means well, but often in the film is portrayed as a flat out jerk, as did Danny McBride’s character in Foot Fist Way. (McBride makes a small appearance in the film as a crackhead.)
The movie itself has in store a lot of “What the…” moments. Some of the film’s most hilarious moments are also some of its most jaw dropping scenes. The film’s climax maybe the most hilarious and most disturbing moment in the film, which pits Rogen up against a fully naked flasher. The scene makes the Borat elevator fight seem like nothing. The film also features a moment of “passion” between a nervous Rogen and a drunk, drugged, passed out Farris. I am sorry if I ruined anything, but those of a weak stomach will thank me. Jody Hill makes sure he makes you laugh, but also grosses out a little bit just for the fun of it.
Observe and Reportis one of those scenarios where people will not know what to think about it. Some might feel it is the one of the funniest movies they’ve seen in years, and some might be so disgusted with the content and lack of morals that they will stray over to the world of Kevin James’s mall cop movie (a fair attempt, but ultimately falls flat on its fat face). I, for one, thought it was like if The Cohen Bros. directed Paul Blart. I am excited to see what Jody Hill has in store next, but I’m sure it will be as crazy as this was.