DVD Review Observe and Report
Directed by: Jody Hill Cast: Seth Rogen, Anna Faris, Michael Pena, Ray Liotta Running Time: 1 hr 30 mins Rating: R Due Out: September 22, 2009
PLOT: A bipolar mall cop (Rogen) strives to become a police officer while also pursuing a flasher and a thief.
WHO'S IT FOR?: The appeal of Seth Rogen has always been coed. But this particular film might be his biggest challenge to all of his devoted followers.
That big kid in high school with the buzzcut and mental issues that kind of scared us? He grew up to be a security officer at the local mall. But Rogen pulls off this semi-sympathetic without letting go completely of the “sym.” It could be his familiar face, or it could actually be a great performance. This bipolar character is reminiscent of all the ugly sides of Rogen’s past roles – except his craziness has now reached its peak. What this guy isn’t, however, is lazy. Barnhardt’s life-or-death dedication to the mall is anything but the slacking Rogen has done before.
“Ugly” seems too fluffy a word to describe Observe and Report. At the same time, “dark” is too serious. With graphic physical comedy and characters that are strictly defective, the film loves to test the black comedy waters. When does a character or event become too strange to be laughed at? Or more specifically … how disturbed can Ronnie appear before we begin to fear he will actually kill someone? These are the types of questions at the heart of every joke dished out by the film’s different sense of humor.
For some, it is hard to see through the pitch black comedy of Observe and Report, a nonetheless unique film that offers semi-pathetic characters in a world more true than not. This may explain why some instantly championed Jody Hill's second movie, and why others ... found different ways to verbally scratch their heads (myself included). However, a second viewing of this movie, which is driven by a distinct tone that is wonderfully warped, succeeded in winning me over. The more I understood what this irreverent movie was trying to do, the more I wanted it in my DVD collection. Rogen's performance became the quiet victory he would probably never be brave enough to do again. Ronnie Barnhardt is a failure, but the film that makes him such a pathetic loser is certainly not.
MOVIE SCORE: 8/10
Widescreen and Full Screen versions
EXTRAS SCORE: 1/10
Talk about a screw up - this DVD packs no extras. But, its simple existence allows naysayers an opportunity to try it on for a first or second time. Observe and Report is vulgar, it's absurd, it's offensive, it's sad, it's violent, but for those able to accept a mall security movie that is not the candy coated garbage of Paul Blart: Mall Cop, it's a different film - at the least, it's certainly a unique moment in Rogen's career. His performance considered, this is definitely one of the more "special" mainstream films from 2009.
FINAL SCORE: 7/10