Observe and Report
Seth Rogen can draw me into basically anything (well maybe not Horton Hears a Who) and in Observe and Report he more or less takes on his most bizarre character yet. Written and directed by Jody Hill who’s responsible for the movie The Foot Fist Way and the TV show Eastbound and Down (Which I highly recommend) introduces us to yet another rude and testosterone fueled egomaniac in the form of bipolar mall cop Ronnie Barnhardt. In what’s been called Paul Blart’s evil twin, Observe and Report gives Hill yet another venue to display his warped sense of humor covering subjects ranging from rape, to murder, to everything in between.
Detailing the story of a man’s mission to stop an anonymous mall flasher, Observe and Report is a no holds bar 80 something minutes of extreme vulgarity, violence and even a little romance. The jokes can tend to wander from time but the story is actually pretty involving. Will Ronnie ever stop the flasher? Will Ronnie ever make something of himself? Will he find true love? These were plot devices that kept me interested and somehow managed to tie up everything all the way to it’s highly satisfying finale.
From what I’ve seen from Jody Hill thus far I think he does his best work when writing with Danny McBride and Ben Best (both of whom have roles in the film). There’s definitely some great lines in Observe but there were plenty of missed opportunities with the idea and for that I think Hill’s solo script struggles. Even if it does drag at moments you can always depend on Observe and Report’s talented cast to breathe some life and energy into the material. Seth Rogen is perfectly suited for the demented protagonist and he’s in good company. Michael Peña, who’s primarily known for his dramatic roles is excellent as Ronnie’s rowdy “right hand man” and I must give kudos to Anna Farris for her willingness to demean herself with such a trashy character. You throw in a veteran like Ray Liotta and you have a formula for success, or at least some kind of mad experiment.
Observe and Report is really out there. So much that I still have no idea how I feel about it. I like it but how much I’m not sure. There were some great scenes and I can’t remember the last time I laughed so hard at the climax of a comedy, so that must stand for something. I can’t stress enough that this movie is “not for everyone”. It’s sick, strange and highly unconventional but it’s original and I can’t wait to see what sick world Jody Hill introduces us to in his next film.
P.S. After the movie A.J. and my dad got in a heated debate. A.J. thinks There Will Be Blood will go down as this generation’s Citizen Kane… Hmm, awkward what do you think?