Published Apr 09, 20092009 seems to be the year of the mall cop movie. A few months ago, Kevin James (King of Queens) bumbled his way across the big screen in Paul Blart: Mall Cop and now Seth Rogen suits up in pseudo-cop gear in Observe and Report. But, where Paul Blart was a light-hearted, family-friendly romantic comedy, Observe and Report is a disturbing journey into the mind of a sad and unstable man. Lacking the consistent discomfort of a truly dark comedy and never embracing the silliness of screwball humour, Observe and Report attempts to walk the tightrope between the two genres and never finds its balance.
Ronnie Barnhardt (Seth Rogen) is proud of his power as head of mall security at the Forest Ridge Mall. But when a pervert begins flashing women in the mall parking lot, Ronnie's bubble of authority is popped and Detective Harrison (Ray Liotta) is called in to solve the problem. Ronnie attempts to redeem his wounded ego and catch the criminal, dedicating his quest to Brandi (Anna Faris), a make-up counter girl and the object of his misplaced affection. In his self-important enthusiasm to prove his worth, Ronnie manages to irritate Detective Harrison and hinder the police investigation. Soon, Ronnie's fragile world begins to crumble and the jagged edges of his disturbed personality emerge in dangerous ways.
Fans looking to see the type of comedy Seth Rogen is famous for (Knocked Up, Superbad) will be disappointed in Observe and Report, as it lacks laugh-out-loud moments. On the surface the film appears to have all the hallmarks of a standard romantic comedy but writer/director Jody Hill has twisted expectations and created a film that, while unique and somewhat interesting in a way similar to the unfairly judged 1996 Ben Stiller/Jim Carrey film The Cable Guy, just isn't very funny.
If you walk in to Observe and Report expecting a quirky film that defies genres you will be entertained, as this movie does manage to subvert expectations at every turn. But those looking for a light-hearted comedy will be quite unhappy with their time in the theatre. (Warner)