Observe and Report (2009)

Observe on how not to make a comedy, and report to Judd Apatow for tips

Bipolar head of security, Ronnie (Seth Rogen), makes it mission to apprehend an anonymous flasher who's been going round exposing himself to various women around the mall, whilst trying to win over his dream girl Brandi (Anna Faris), contend with Detective Harrison (Ray Liotta) and live out his dream of becoming a real police officer.

Seth Rogen is a marmite guy. You're not in two minds about him, you either love him and his comedy stylings, or you can't stand him. I quite like the guy and many of his films, but I can see why many aren't taken in by his comedic attempts, especially after seeing this film.

Ronnie, played by Seth Rogen, is an asshole, and not a likable asshole who you feel for as a character, just an asshole who's more concerned with hitting the big time rather than allowing for the police to handle catching the flasher. He's not so much of an unlikable character that he makes you want Harrison to shoot him, but he's not really a character you're rooting for all throughout the film's running time.

Brandi is pretty unlikable, there's nothing to her character, as they didn't bother to try and make us care for her in any way, so I guess I shouldn't criticize Brandi too much. The only characters who I felt were even the slightest bit chucklesome were Nell's boss, Roger, played by Patton Oswalt, and Aziz Ansari's character who's only known as Saddam, thanks to Ronnie's stereotyping.

"Ma'am, I know this'll be tough on you, but could you describe what it looked like?"

As far as the acting goes, everyone did okay in their roles, with Ray Liotta performing the best (who's fallen quite afar since Goodfellas) while Danny McBride really hammed it up in his cameo.

I feel like the film tries a bit too hard to be dark and offensive, by showing scenes of characters shooting up, an arabic character being known only as "Saddam", Ronnie judging characters primarily by the colour of their skin and a scene of what is pretty much date rape. It feels like they focused way too much of the running time on these aspects, while not bothering on the comedy, which pretty much falls flat on its face.

The plot begins pretty straight forward, but it manages to go off into ridiculous territory as the running time goes on, but I will say that the ending is ridiculously fun and quite humorous, but nothing side splittingly hilarious.

Observe and Report is pretty much a failed attempt at a darkly comedic and edgy film, focusing on the dark and edgy parts more than they should've, leaving little room for any actual comedy to be had. Just to be clear, I don't hate this film, I just think that it really was not funny, which is a shame as it's a comedy film and being funny is the reason they bother with that genre.


CaliCritic said…
I agree that the film tried too hard to both offend and make you laugh. Great review man!
Jeff SC said…
I hated this movie so much... Wasn't even remotely funny, every character was irritating, I might be inclined to give it an even lower rating than that. Good review.
Ruth said…
Wow, I've never even heard of this one! If you're going to make your character an asshole, there needs to be something redeeming in there (in their motive or their character) to make us like them in spite of their bad qualities, so it sounds like they had a massive fail on that point! Great review!
Dan O. said…
This movie is totally messed up but still a guy that we can get behind and laugh at even when he is being completley ridiculous. Great performance from Seth Rogen who is using that likableness in a weird and strange way. Good review.