Sunday, April 19, 2009

Observe and Report

Saturday started off on a bad note when I turned on the TV to see my beloved Yankees getting reamed in just the second inning. When it got to 14 runs I just shook my head and turned the TV off. Since I couldn't bear to watch my team blow yet another home game by double digits I was determined to go see something funny. Tamar was busy with her crafting stuff so I figured I could go and see something really juvenile, with gross out humor. At least that is what I thought I was seeing. This was definitely different from most mainstream films--it certainly felt more like an Indie. This was Paul Blart Mall Cop meets Taxi Driver. And I'm not saying Paul Blart to compare the two films--the only thing that connects Observe and Report to Paul Blart is that they both revolve around stupid Mall Cops but after that all bets are off. Observe's Ronny is a disturbed/paranoid gun nut who has the same sense of self-righteousness as Travis Bickle and it is intense.Ronny (Seth Rogan) is the head of security at the local mall. He is joined by his motley crew of Mall cops, his right hand man Dennis (Michael Pena), the Yuen Twins (John & Matt Yuen) and newbie Charles (Jessie Plemmons). Ronny is obsessively trying to track down a serial streaker who has made it personal for Ronny when he reveals his bits and pieces to Ronny's would-be girlfriend Brandi (Anna Faris). Ronny also has trouble from the Conway Police Department and Detective Harrison (Ray Liotta). Ronny wants to be a cop and the only thing, in his mind, getting in his way is Harrison and his snooping around Ronny's mall.The movie is funny as hell no question especially the back and forth between Ronny and the patrons at the mall. Ronny is not politically correct in almost any situation. As one of the funnier sequences with actor Aziz Ansari who Ronny calls Saddamn. Is it American History X uncomfortable? Not quite, but the filmmakers definitely like to put a foot over the line every chance they get. Director/Writer Jody Hill must have a soft spot for dumb rednecks with misplaced confidence because this is now the third time one has headlined one of his productions. The first was dumb karate loving honky Fred Simmons (Danny McBride) from The Foot Fist Way. The second is potty mouth ex-baseball player and all around douche bag Kenny Powers for HBO's Eastbound and Down. Out of the three of them Ronny is by far the most tolerable. I'm usually from the school of, "If your main character is unlikable in almost every way the audience will more than likely not show up." The obvious reason being because if you can't give a shit about the guy why are you watching his story in the first place. But somehow Hill and his cohorts have been successful at this formula. The fact that there are some damn funny moments in all of these productions helps I'm sure. Ronny at least seems to have a sense of right and wrong but his bi-polar nature pushes him to act out when things don't go his way.Ray Liotta, Michael Pena and Celia Weston as Mom truly helped to balance out this dark comedy. Anna Faris has to be careful though she plays yet another vapid blonde chick not unlike her Brittany Spears character, Samantha James, in Just Friends. I think she's capable of doing more but until then she can sleepwalk through these roles and collect a paycheck for as long as she likes. Seth Rogan however really showed some chops that I haven't seen before. Yes Ronny is funny and stupid not unlike Rogan's cop character from Superbad. But as the movie unfolds you get to see more layers as Ronny slowly ticks away like a time bomb. He gets bad advice from his drunk Mother and he seems to be coming dangerously close to losing his sense of reality. Rogan also showed that he can throw a punch. He beats the shit out of some skater kids smashing boards over their heads with glee. He also gets a great sequence kicking some drug dealer ass. Danny McBride makes his cameo appearance as he has the unfortunate duty of being on the receiving end of this gangland stomping. Overall the movie was funny and extremely offensive. If you have a sensitive disposition Observe and Report is not for you. But if this doesn't bother you then what the hell are you waiting for? It's much better than Paul Blart: Mall Cop this I can assure you. Actually that should be the sequel Ronny Barnhardt vs. Paul Blart. Kevin James would be a greasy smear on the pavement after about five minutes.

Grade: 3 Buckets

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