‘Observe and Report’ Is Sick and Wrong

Isiah Reyes

“Observe and Report” can be described in many ways: obscene, disturbing, lewd, sickening and – oh yeah, hilarious.

Directed by Jody Hill (“The Foot Fist Way,” 2006), the black comedy stars Seth Rogen (“Pineapple Express,” 2008) as Ronald Barnhardt, head of mall security, whose sole mission is to catch the perverted flashing offender who is disrupting the peace at his mall.

Along the way, Ronald tries to entice the stereotypical blond-headed bimbo, Brandi (Anna Faris, “The House Bunny,” 2008), who is a victim of the trench-coated villain’s sick plan the following day.

Ronald, determined to catch his prey under any circumstance, recruits the help from the other mall cops, including Asian twins Matt and John Yuan, the Mexican apprentice Dennis (Michael Peña, “The Lucky Ones,” 2008) and the “I’m not sure we’re doing the right thing” Charles(Jesse Plemons).

As everything seems to be set on the right track, it all gets derailed by the entrance of the police officer, Detective Harrison (Ray Liotta, “Goodfellas,” 1990), who is unquestionably Ronald’s rival.

Harrison gets called into the mall to investigate a robbery at one of the stores, and after Ronald wastes the officer’s time with unusual investigative methods, he is subject to extreme verbal abuse in front of his own boss.

Harrison, at this point, is fed up with him and decides to leave Ronald in a violent drug-infested part of town to fend for himself.

Aside from the many dangers that Ronald faces in the film, another obstacle in his journey is to hook-up with Brandi. After arranging a date with her, she intoxicates herself and ingests his bipolar disorder pills, and he finally scores.

Near the end of the movie, following all the events that are semi-resolved, during the climactic scene where Ronald finally confronts the perverted flasher, he again resolves matters his own way by doing something that is so wrong that it’s hilarious.

Speaking of hilarious, that is what this movie is most notable for. Even though there are a few scenes that have heartfelt moments, the only alluring aspect and the only reason to watch this movie is to laugh.

However, this movie is rated R for a reason. Don’t expect to laugh at little puns and innocent jokes. The language is intense (the f-word is said about 150 times), the sexuality is raw (the flasher doesn’t just flash the window-shoppers), the violence is brutal (bone rips through skin in graphic detail) and the drugs are plentiful (which injected the movie with humor).

Rogen’s acting is really amusing, due to his bipolar-ness which makes him sane one moment and hysterical the next.

Other actors that leave a mark in the film are Michael Pena, the Mexican security guard who beat the crap out of skateboarders; Ronald’s mom (Celia Weston, “The Invasion,” 2007) who tries to consult her son while drunk; and the little role played by Aziz Ansari (“The Rocker,” 2008), who defends himself from being racially-profiled as Middle Eastern.

The main problem that most people will have with this movie is the type of humor that is used. This dark comedy is based on the realistic story of one man wanting to protect his domain, but it’s completely surrounded by random, unexpected nonsense that it may throw people off and make it seem as if nothing of importance is going on.
But if it’s possible to somehow ignore all of the weirdness in the film, then there really is a story with depth here.

Also, some people may find this movie to be extremely disturbing (such as the parents who dragged their pre-teen daughters out of the theater during the male genitalia scene) and others will find this movie to be really funny, who is anyone with a guilty, lewd sense of humor.

If you’re hanging in the middle of these two giant orbs of opinion, you’re sure to stick out like a sore thumb. With pun intended, that’s the kind of humor you’ll be getting in “Observe and Report.”

Overall, fans of Seth Rogen should know what to expect in this movie from some of the other previous films he’s done. There are some new and exciting things that happen, such as the ending. Good lord, the ending. Oh man. Completely, wow. Insane and weird all at once.

This movie is not overly praise-worthy, but recommended. So if you enjoy a chubby man running through a mall in all his full-frontal glory, then by all means, enjoy.

“Observe and Report” is rated R for pervasive crude language, graphic nudity, drug use, sexual content and violence. The full runtime is 86 minutes.

My rating is 3 out of 5 stars.