"Observe & Report." - Movie Review.

By Bob Zerull

3 1/2 Stars:

There is a line in “Observe & Report” that goes, “I thought this was going to be funny, but really it’s just sad.” That line kind of sums up this movie, only it is funny, but it’s a lot sadder or darker than I expected. The problem that this movie faces is that “Paul Blart: Mall Cop” came out before it. These two movies are nothing alike, they are both about mall cops, but Kevin James' “Paul Blart: Mall Cop” is a family friendly movie, while Seth Rogen’s “Observe & Report” is a much darker adult friendly comedy.

Seth Rogen stars as Ronnie Barnhardt, head of mall security. He also suffers from Bipolar Disorder. He’s afraid to admit it, but his dream in life is to become a police officer. His disorder unfortunately will probably prevent this from ever happening (especially when he goes off the meds). Ronnie however gets his chance to prove his ability when a mall flasher attacks his mall.

When the mall flasher violates Brandi (Anna Faris), Ronnie’s crush (whom she wants nothing to do with), Ronnie has enough. The real cops are brought in (led by Ray Liotta) against Ronnie’s wishes. Ronnie is upset that they aren’t taking this as serious as they should. He’s worried that the flasher may rape Brandi.

I’m not sure that director Jody Hill knew what he wanted this movie to be, or maybe he did. I can understand why people love it and I understand why people hate it. Hill leaves it all on the table. At times it is uncomfortable to watch this movie, not because it is bad, but because it is so real and so sad. Other times it’s as far from real as it gets.

The acting and the balls to tell this story are really the highlights to the movie. It is refreshing to see Seth Rogen play a completely different character than anything else he’s played. Anna Faris plays the same exact character she always plays, but she plays it different and better. Ray Liotta plays it straight which makes him extra funny. Michael Pena as Ronnie’s right hand man and Celia Weston as Ronnie’s mom steal every scene that they’re in.

I recommend this movie simply for the originality behind it. It’s certainly not for everyone, particularly the easily offended. It’s definitely not a movie that you’ll walk away saying that it is just OK. You’ll either really like it, or really hate it. Me, when I see the word offensive (or any offshoot of that word) I get curious. Give this movie a chance.


Bob Zerull is a frequent movie and concert goer who talks about his ventures to arenas and theaters more than any person should be allowed to do. Now, he puts them down on paper. Email him your thoughts at: bzerull19@gmail.com. Also visit: www.cadaverchristmas.com.

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Jerry said...

It's either Rogan or Rudd with this reviewer. There are more movies out there.


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