Posted: 04/14/2009



by Rick Villalobos

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A director with a twisted sense of humor will either be praised or misunderstood. They fall between the cracks of the film industry. It’s not until the soccer moms, the fundamentalists and the politicians pass judgment that the rest of us will see a picture for what it truly is. If it is not butchered by the ratings board first. Observe and report is a dark comedy that crosses every cinematic threshold known to man. It is raw, perverse and funny in a Felliniesque sort of way.

Written and directed by Jody Hill (The Foot Fist Way, 2006), Observe and Report is not just another film about an average and over weight mall cop. Ronnie Barnhardt (Seth Rogen) is head of security at the Forest Ridge Mall – a typical suburban shopping center. A conservative enforcer of the law, Ronnie and his team of oddball security guards must catch a flasher, a middle aged perpetrator terrorizing women with his evil display of pink flesh. It is not a pretty sight.

The cast: Ronnie is a politically incorrect do-gooder who happens to be a bipolar gung-ho maniac with a mall badge. Girls will swoon at this potty mouthed badass with a heart of gold. Brandi (Anna Ferris) is Ronnie’s crush – a blond-haired and big-boobed cosmetician who despises him. Detective Harris (Ray Liota) is Ronnie’s nemesis – a tough and street smart detective who will do what it takes to bring him down. Include two weapon savvy Asian twins, a drunkard of a mother and a best friend that sounds like a pimp and eureka - it is a great stocking stuffer.

A memorable cast spewing out witty dialogue with a couple of cuss words sprinkled in is a film meant for success. There aren’t too many films that would make a great drinking game. Every time someone says the F-word let’s drink up…ironically almost every scene has that infamous word in it. It seems to role off the tongue.

Observe and Report is not for the weak of stomach. Wait patiently to be shocked and disturbed. This picture will cause uproar. Every conservative and liberal circle alike will probably protest and gag in disgust, but that is the beauty of this film. Rogen is a shrewd comical actor. He is the new leading man.

It’s bloody likely that Hanna Montana fans will skip this one. Unfortunately, Observe and Report will not break box office records. But let’s not count this film out yet. It has legs to keep going for a long run. Spoiler alert…there is a male genitalia swinging back and forth at some point in the film. Be warned.

Rick Villalobos is a writer and film critic in Chicago.

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