"Right Now, The World Needs A Hero."
"The random and unpredictable nature makes it an extremely interesting film to watch. Rob Calvert, Premiere
|Bargain hunters at Forest Ridge Mall get more than they bargained for: a chubby flasher in a ratty bathrobe. They're repulsed. Security guard Ronnie Barnhardt isn't: "This disgusting pervert is the best thing that ever happened to me!" Catching the flasher may be his ticket to a real police job and to romance with a hot cosmetics-counter princess. Only one thing stands between Ronnie and destiny: a tall, handsome cop who actually knows what he's doing. Seth Rogen (Knocked Up), Anna Faris (the Scary Movie series) and Ray Liotta (GoodFellas) star in this mall-to-wall comedy covering acres of wild, sometimes raunchy, up-in-your-grill funny - all under one roof.|
"In a genuinely brave performance, Seth Rogen sheds his frat-boy comic styling and delivers an unflinching portrayal. Scott Mendelson, Film Threat
"As funny as it is sick (and it's plenty of both). Steven Rea, Philadelphia Inquirer
"The superb character actor Celia Weston is truly breathtaking as Rogen's boozer mom. Lisa Schwarzbaum. Entertainment Weekly
"Funnier than the silliest comedy because it's surprisingly real. Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle
"In a genuinely brave performance, Seth Rogen sheds his frat-boy comic styling and delivers an unflinching portrayal. Scott Mendelson, FilmThreat.com
In this deadpan comic send-up/tribute to the psychotic male loner of American cinema (à la TAXI DRIVER, DIRTY HARRY, DEATH WISH, etc., security guard Ronnie Barnhardt (Seth Rogen) is determined to keep the mall safe, whetherhe's running down skaters or harassing employees. A flasher is terrorizing the mall and Ronnie is determined to catch him, and no matter how misguided Ronnie's efforts, the swelling rock-&-roll soundtrack is with him all the way, underscoring his triumphs and his tragedies with fist-pounding anthems and tear-wrenching ballads by Queen, the Yardbirds, and the Band. Writer-director Jody Hill delivers on the promise he showed with THE FOOT FIST WAY, taking the same sort of clueless, fearless protagonist and going even deeper into the darkness. Rogen projects a surprising amount of unstoppable force as the delusional, compulsive, bipolar Ronnie, while also displaying tenderness for his alcoholic mother (Celia Weston) and a genuine desire to protect the perfume-counter girl (Anna Faris) he loves (even though he ends up getting her wasted and taking advantage of her in a controversial scene). Even with such stiff competition, Michael Peña manages to steal almost every scene he's in as a lisping, sycophantic co-worker. Ray Liotta plays a "real" detective, and Hill regular Danny McBride shows up in various amusing cameos. Inexplicably released the same year as PAUL BLART: MALL COP, this is the darker one--the raging id, the heavy-hitter version--with a vengeance.
Cast & Crew
"[A] shockingly and sometimes discomfortingly funny comedy....[Rogen gives] a nervy lead performance that's in perfect sync with the pic itself."
?[A] risky, riotous, moody-blue comedy written and directed by Jody Hill....The cast, led by Rogen, chomps into all this anarchy as if liberated from the Hollywood salt mines, with a commitment to the material worthy of a tribute from James Lipton.? -- Grade: A-
?Its biggest asset is the way it sidesteps predictability and focuses its tale on unlikely and unhinged characters.?
Wall Street Journal
?Ms. Faris is as game as they come. Mr. Rogen, who?s often cast as a likable schlump, gives an edgy, brave performance...?
"[T]he film breaks all the rules....Not since Paul Thomas Anderson's PUNCH-DRUNK LOVE has a studio comedy so willfully punctuated fantasy with shocking violence."
3 stars out of 4 -- "If you are a fan of dark and quirky comedy, then you will be in heaven with this film....The random and unpredictable nature makes it an extremely interesting film to watch."
3 stars out of 5 -- "Funny as hell, that's how demonic it is. Imagine Scorsese directing POLICE ACADEMY..."
3 stars out of 5 -- "It's Rogen's THE CABLE GUY, and a possible future cult classic."
San Francisco Chronicle 9 of 10
"Observe and Report" is a step forward for comedy, not a Neil Armstrong-size step, maybe, but big enough to notice. The movie presents Seth Rogen as a mall security guard with bipolar disorder, who is dumb as a post and has delusions of grandeur, and then it has the courage to develop a story around this guy that's as bleak and ridiculous as he seems to deserve...The movie never gets sentimental. It's as harsh and nasty as comedy can be, and if anything, it gets ruder and more outlandish as it goes along. Yet the acting - this is key - stays grounded in truth. The performances may be on the big side, as they should be, but they remain just this side of farce. Director Jody Hill, who also wrote the screenplay, maintains a very precise tone by making sure the actors never once behave as though they know they're funny...The innovation of "Observe and Report" - its one small step for comedy - is that it finds its way to a satisfying ending without compromising an audience's (or its own) sense of truth. After all, truth in comedy is why we laugh - we're startled by it, and laughter is the response. Yet truth itself, in the sense of the public's perception of reality, is always evolving and shifting, and comedy always has to keep pace..."Observe and Report" strikes me as a comedy in perfect pace with this moment. It's funny and uncompromising, offering laughs without denial.
- Mick LaSalle
Rolling Stone 9 of 10
"Listen, you fu***rs, you screwheads. Here is a man who would not take it anymore. A man who stood up against the scum, the cu**s, the dogs, the filth, the s**t." Those are the thoughts that flicker through the head of Robert De Niro as Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver. And that's pretty much what Seth Rogen is thinking as mall security chief Ronnie Barnhardt in Observe and Report, which is -- I should point out -- a comedy. Funny as hell, that's how demonic it is. Imagine Scorsese directing Police Academy. Fans of Paul Blart: Mall Cop who think Rogen and writer-director Jody Hill are dishing out more family-friendly sap are in for an ass-kicking. If you've seen Hill's work on The Foot Fist Way and HBO's Eastbound & Down, you know this is one twisted dude...Props to Hill and Rogen for believing you can play anything for a hoot, including R-rated sex and violence. Right away you know Rogen isn't going for lovable. Hair cropped scary-short, Ronnie prowls gut-first through the Forest Ridge Mall looking for scum. Shoplifters and skateboarders piss Ronnie off, but his focus is on a flasher who thinks he can freely dangle his d**k, especially at Brandi (a sidesplittingly slutty Anna Faris), the blondie at the makeup counter on whom Ronnie has focused his freaky lust. Ronnie mistakenly relies on his right-hand man, Dennis, played by Michael Pena, who is miles away from the drama of Crash, Babel and World Trade Center and having a ball...All the actors ace it, but the movie pivots on Ronnie's battle with Detective Harrison (Ray Liotta), the cop Ronnie wants to be. Liotta is Goodfellas tough, making no allowances for giggles. His mistake is to mock Ronnie, throwing him to a gang of vicious crackheads. It's this scene -- in which Ronnie wields his flashlight like a police baton, beating his enemies bloody -- that shows us just how bug-fuck dangerous and delusional Ronnie is. Hill is fearless at pushing hot buttons: date rape, shooting up and worse. Just know this: Rogen is nutso hilarious, nailing every note of mirth and malice. Even when Hill goes way too far, and he does, Observe and Report revels in creeping you out and making you laugh -- hard.
- Peter Travers
ReelViews 9 of 10
Probably every review written of Observe and Report will mention, in one context or another, Paul Blart: Mall Cop. The connection is understandable: both are satirical looks at the trials and tribulations of life as a private security guard (a.k.a. "rent-a-cop"). That's where the similarities end, however. Paul Blart is genial, good-natured, and a little silly - a perfect family feature. Observe and Report is none of those things. It's dark and demented, twisted and perverse - the kind of motion picture that will find a cadre of devout supporters but risks mainstream derision. For Seth Rogen, everyone's favorite lovable loser, this represents a daring reach beyond his comfort zone. This is Rogen's Punch Drunk Love, a feature that may cause consternation within his die-hard fan base but which will open the eyes of those who expected this to be just another dumb, sophomoric comedy filled with lame jokes and half-baked characterizations. It takes guts to make a dark comedy that works on its own terms, and writer/director Jody Hill shows no fear...Observe and Report is being mis-marketed, with trailers depicting it as yet another screwball Rogen film or as a slightly more raunchy version of Paul Blart. Expectations along those lines could lead to an unnerving experience. Approach Observe and Report as a dark, nasty motion picture that rarely cheats for laughs and doesn't pull many punches. It falls short of brilliant but it's a lot more daring than what passes for "dark comedy" these days, and it reminds us that "feel bad" comedies may not always be as funny as "feel good" ones but, when they work, they can ultimately be more satisfying.
- James Berardinelli
New York Post 8 of 10
Seth Rogen, a consistently genial stoner presence in what seems like every fourth movie these days, shows he can actually act in Observe and Report, a disturbingly humorous cross between Paul Blart: Mall Cop and Taxi Driver...While not the laugh riot some of my critical colleagues have been recklessly promising, this second feature from Jody Hill (The Foot Fist Way) is admirable for venturing into very dark places rarely glimpsed in big-studio comedies -- thanks, Warner Bros.! -- like (gulp) date rape..."Part of me thinks this disgusting pervert is the best thing that ever happened to me," announces Rogen's Ronnie after a schlubby flasher begins terrorizing the low-rent Middle American mall where Ronnie is somehow director of security...The sick joke is that the flabby, sociopathic Ronnie is neither physically nor mentally all that far removed from the very naked and modestly endowed flasher (Randy Gambill)...The latter's appearance inspires an attack of grandiosity in our hero, whose transgressions up to now have been pretty much limited to racially harassing a lotion vendor he calls Saddam and cruelly leading on a temporarily handicapped barista (Collette Wolfe) who has a crush on him...In short order, Ronnie guiltlessly forces himself on a wasted perfume demonstrator (Anna Faris) freaked out by the flasher, joyfully tosses his medications for bipolar disorder -- and declares war on the police detective (Ray Liotta) investigating the flasher case...Further emboldened by a surprising law-enforcement triumph, the mood-swinging Ronnie applies for a police job -- and this deluded bully's wildly inappropriate interview with a dumbfounded psychologist is perhaps the movie's comic high point...This is not really a movie for the masses who went to see Rogen in Knocked Up -- or the wildly and inexplicably popular Paul Blart: Mall Cop, for that matter...I don't want to oversell it, but Observe and Report is the sort of offbeat studio movie that should be encouraged.
- Lou Lumenick