Observe and Report, brought to you by director/writer Jody Hill, is not for the feint of heart, but is an interesting look into the psyche of a mall security guard who tries too hard to be the best at what he does. Any psychology majors may want to watch this movie to answer one simple question: how many mental diseases does Ronnie Barnhartd (Seth Rogan) have?
Ronnie, being the head of mall security, battles many foes, including skateboarders, shoplifters, and a menacing flasher who manages to catch the love of his life, Brandi (Anna Faris), off guard by flashing her his goods. After this devastating incident, it’s up to Ronnie and his team of mall warriors- Charles (Jesse Plemons), the Yuan twins (who play themselves, John and Matt Yuan) and Dennis (Michean Pena) – to catch the pervert and put an end to his flashing days once and for all.
For his second film, Jody Hill does a great job at writing and directing what I thought was a hilarious film with a few heavy flaws. It is not slapstick humor nor is it black humor, but an interesting hybrid which hasn’t been seen for quite a long time. If you don’t attempt to understand what is going on in each character’s mind, then you will not get a lot of the jokes. This may turn many people off to watching the film, as it can’t be categorized as smart or stupid humor: it just is what it is.
The amount of violence and obscene images placed in this movie are surprising, but add to the laugh factors. Simply put, this film is not for everyone. Some may find it hilarious, some may find it offending, and others may think it is foolish. This is one of those films which is difficult to tell what kind of people will enjoy it.
Ray Liotta shows he still has what it takes to be a badass as Detective Harrison, in a way we haven’t seen since the 1990 blockbuster Goodfellas. Seth Rogan, unlike his last few films, actually acted instead of playing himself for this film. Instead of coming off as the slightly intelligent good guy, he’s a mentally incapable fool who does what he wants, which leads to many conflicts and the viewer may find himself wanting to guide him along the right way. Anna Faris actually acts a little better than she did in the Scary Movie films (which isn’t saying much). Don’t expect any Oscar winning acting in this film, but as a whole it was well done for what it needed to be.
For only his second motion picture, Jody Hill brings a surprisingly funny film which may not appeal to everyone, although the last ten minutes of the film might be worth it to watch regardless. It has its flaws, mainly in the acting and pacing of the story, but overall it is a film that you might want to check out, although guys may not want to bring their dates as it’s a very testosterone-driven film. I give it 3 out of 4 stars.