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Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
15
Cast
Seth Rogen
Anna Faris
Ray Liotta
.
Directors
Jody Hill.
Screenwriters
Jody Hill.
Running Time
86 minutes

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Observe And Report
Mall cop movies are the new black...


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Plot
Shopping mall guard Ronnie Barnhardt (Rogen) is a jobsworth extraordinaire, and dangerously so. Not only does he have mental issues, he’s also a gun nut who wants to cop off with Anna Faris’ make-up-counter girl. Now, if only he can catch that pesky flasher stalking the car-lot...


Review
Observe And Report
Seth Rogen is a one-Mmn comedy army. Since 2007’s Knocked Up, barely a month has slipped by without either his goofy voice or Fozzie features being seen (or heard) in some corner of the multiplex. Superbad, Pineapple Express, Zack And Miri Make A Porno, Kung Fu Panda, Monsters Vs Aliens... And now Jody ‘The Foot Fist Way’ Hill’s Observe And Report, this year’s second mall-security-guard comedy.

But Paul Blart this ain’t; Observe And Report is no heartwarming tale of a lovable blue-collar schlub, and neither does it see Rogen once again reprise his chubby, witty slacker persona. One scene, which kicks off the predictable kick-the-protagonist-in-the-teeth second act, sums up the tone perfectly. It involves snide copper Detective Harrison (Ray Liotta, wearing too much eye shadow) gleefully imparting the news to Ronnie (Rogen) that he’s failed the psych-evaluation element of his police application. Ronnie is devastated. Then Harrison’s cop buddy emerges from hiding in the stationery cupboard. “Sorry, I thought this was gonna be funny,” he says, “but it’s actually sad.”

Under the fratty exterior flutters a very dark heart and, like Harrison’s wrong-footed buddy, you don’t know whether you should laugh or cringe in discomfort. Ronnie is a disturbed man who suffers from bipolar; he’s more Travis Bickle than Paul Blart (something Hill plays on in a meltdown voiceover at the film’s climax). One scene even has him apparently date-raping a drugged Anna Faris, vomit trailing down the pillow from her slack mouth. Ronnie ceases thrusting, aware that she’s unconscious, a look of consternation flashing over his face. “Who told you to stop, motherfucker?” slurs Faris. Cue very nervous laughter.

It’s hard to grasp exactly what audience Hill is aiming for. You would hope the beer-chugging jocks will clock the film’s uneasy undertow; this isn’t a Will Ferrell shouty idiot or Ben Stiller vain twit — Ronnie is on medication. Which isn’t to say that Hill shouldn’t seek comedy in this (and he often finds it); rather, that Ronnie as a character, and Rogen as an actor, are deserving ofa more complex, poignant story than the loose stringing of shock-gag vignettes and twisted punchlines on offer here.


Verdict
An odd one. Rogen’s latest clown is an angry, confused man who you never feel entirely comfortable laughing at. There are laughs — you’ll just feel guilty afterwards...


Reviewed by Dan Jolin

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Your Reviews

Average user rating for Observe And Report
Empire Star Rating

RE: This is comedy.

rve and Report (2009) At first glance an inevitable comparison to the Kevin James vehicle 'Paul Blart' springs to mind. To be fair you wouldn't be all that far off either, the whole basis for this film is very similar lets be honest. Both characters are working as security men in a mall and are wannabe cops. Both characters are portrayed as taking their job way too seriously when in reality they are merely shop attendants in a blue uniform. And both characters try to change their lives by app... More

Posted by Phubbs at 06:44, 09 May 2013 | Report This Post


This is comedy.

Everybody needs to chillax abou this film, i thought it was frickin helarious. i loved everything about it. the story is not about the flasher guy (which made me lmao) its about the struggle of seth rogen finding his dream. the film is kind of showing the unsung hereos of the security guards of shopping malls. you get me? i loved every seen with seth rogan and ray liotta. you never get bored of seth beating the crap out of everyone. i thought this was good you people want loads of sophisticated ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by EmpireLover at 15:31, 03 August 2010 | Report This Post


Freakin Hilarious

Approach as a drama and you'll laugh Great performance from Seth Rogen, with some huge belly laughs ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by monkeyhumour at 07:24, 16 June 2010 | Report This Post


errrm???

along with the foot fist way i really wanted to enjoy this but found the movie a huge letdown ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by mdogg81 at 20:57, 05 January 2010 | Report This Post


I thought the Empire review gave the wrong impression about this movie. I'm a big Seth Rogen fan, and this didn't disappoint, yes it's dark around the edges but it's funny. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by iconzero at 08:46, 03 October 2009 | Report This Post


Understandable Critique

I have finally watched this movie, a film that I have been eager and at the same time dreading to watch. From day one I knew that this film was poorly advertised by the Marketing muppets, a feat too often done by studios when they have either no idea how to market a film as they do not understand it or if the film is utter garbage. Also because I like Seth Rogan, he has to make a bad film at some point and this film looked like it could be the one. Because of these two points I skipped it a... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by D-ToX at 13:06, 17 September 2009 | Report This Post


Observe and leave more like

This is THE worst film of the year. I walked into the cinema thinking this would be at least near watchable But it turned out to be the worst comedy since The Simpsons Movie. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by S1lent B0b at 14:57, 09 September 2009 | Report This Post


The Worst Film of The Year (So Far) By A Long, Long Way

I feel like I am taking crazy pills here ... I am pretty shocked at the general reaction to this film on this thread.  I thought that this was, by some distance, the worst film I have seen at the cinema this year (and I've had the misfortune of seeing Bride Wars and Franklyn). I generally like Seth Rogan but I am getting concerned that he is going down the Will Ferrell route of the law of diminishing returns and overexposure and I have no idea what he was thinking with this film. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Groovy Mule at 13:15, 07 August 2009 | Report This Post


RE: VERY FUNNY!

I agree completely. The whole chase scene set to 'Where is my mind' made me sit up and pay attention just when i'd pretty much given up hope of an entertaining ending. My point is (SPOILERS) why make Ronnie pull a gun and then not follow through with the obvious consequence? Sure it would have been a shocking end to a comedy, but a memorable one nonetheless. If the director, for whatever reason, didn't feel he could end the movie with that tone then he should have taken the gun out of the equat... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by skippy82 at 21:18, 03 August 2009 | Report This Post


RE: VERY FUNNY!

Oddly, yet somewhat unsurprisingly for this film, I feel very differently about those final five minutes! As a whole I felt Observe & Report was a well-intentioned, dark comedic mess.  There was a general shuffling of tone throughout, and though they clearly had the right influences (The King of Comedy far too lofty a goal to reach, but a noble pursuit nonetheless) they didn't exactly know how to execute it.  The film often drifted into territory unfittingly broad, and for a ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by kingoftheducks at 04:22, 02 August 2009 | Report This Post


RE: VERY FUNNY!

POTENTIAL SPOILERS. Unlike some of the other posters i was completely disappointed with the ending. It was 5 minutes away from being a great film but the indecisiveness of the penultimate scene left me cold. I'll try & be discreet rather than blatantly giving away the ending but in regards to the fate of the flasher there were two clear directions to take, comedic or dramatic. Comedic would have been fitting & dramatic would have been shocking but both would have wor... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by skippy82 at 03:44, 02 August 2009 | Report This Post


RE: Observe and Report

L: captain jack harknes L: jncorbett There were some funny moments, for sure. But as a whole this film just didn't work. It was neither one thing (a sensitive look at bipolar disorder) or the other (an action comedy). Perhaps one day a film will be made that combines the two effectively, but this isn't it. Steer clear, it's really unworthy of anyone's time or money. I agree entirely - this film just didn't know what it was aiming to be; it was marketed as a comedy and it so wasn... More

Posted by adambatman82 at 22:19, 28 April 2009 | Report This Post


RE: Observe and Report

L: jncorbett There were some funny moments, for sure. But as a whole this film just didn't work. It was neither one thing (a sensitive look at bipolar disorder) or the other (an action comedy). Perhaps one day a film will be made that combines the two effectively, but this isn't it. Steer clear, it's really unworthy of anyone's time or money. sp; I agree entirely - this film just didn't know what it was aiming to be; it was marketed as a comedy and it so wasn't, yet wasn't much of anyt... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by captain jack harknes at 22:04, 28 April 2009 | Report This Post


Best avoided - you have been warned!

Barely a titter was raised in the cinema I watched this in, which is barely surprising as for the vast majority its in very poor taste. I'm no prude but this goes way beyond the excellent Superbad in the bad taste stakes and for me there was an unease in the cinema amongst all as things just got worse - best avoided. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by rougier at 21:49, 28 April 2009 | Report This Post


a new side of rogen

i didnt expect this film to be so dark but i really enjoyed it, im a huge seth rogern fan and i was quite happy to see him do his usual thing but instead he has crafted a difficult character. this film paints un uncomfortable picture of a deeply flawed loser. but the laugs are tere and most of there are huge. i would say this film is vastly enjoyable aslong as you have no expectations going in, if you are looking for knocked up 2 you will feel a little cheated. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by p1gion at 11:54, 27 April 2009 | Report This Post


Observe and Report

There were some funny moments, for sure. But as a whole this film just didn't work. It was neither one thing (a sensitive look at bipolar disorder) or the other (an action comedy). Perhaps one day a film will be made that combines the two effectively, but this isn't it. Steer clear, it's really unworthy of anyone's time or money. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by jncorbett at 02:48, 26 April 2009 | Report This Post


RE: Observe And Report

Thankyou for that stream of conciousness 'adambatman82' but I'm afraid I'll have to disagree with your..........eh........stream of conciousness.  Observe and Report is by no means a perfect film but it is certainly dark, weird and disturbing.  Marketed as a 'Knocked Up', 'Superbad' type of comedy, I think this movie aims for something far more cerebral.  Is it a success?  I'm not quite sure.  I still don't know if I'm supposed to empathise with, sympathise with or... More

Posted by mackey at 01:20, 26 April 2009 | Report This Post


RE: Observe And Report

L: Lex Romero L: lloyddobler !!ovie was awesome. Such a great lead performance and such a great character as well as an ending that made you want to stand up and cheer. I wish I had this on DVD as I wanted to watch it again straight after it ended. w years this will be considered a five star classic. ha?  Why didn't you give it 5stars then? /quote] i think the "3 stars!!" was more of a bemoanment of empires score, rather than an indication of his own rating. perso... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by adambatman82 at 00:26, 26 April 2009 | Report This Post


RE: Observe And Report

L: lloyddobler !!ovie was awesome. Such a great lead performance and such a great character as well as an ending that made you want to stand up and cheer. I wish I had this on DVD as I wanted to watch it again straight after it ended. w years this will be considered a five star classic. ha?  Why didn't you give it 5stars then? ... More

Posted by Lex Romero at 22:53, 25 April 2009 | Report This Post


RE: Observe And Report

3 stars!! This movie was awesome. Such a great lead performance and such a great character as well as an ending that made you want to stand up and cheer. I wish I had this on DVD as I wanted to watch it again straight after it ended.   In a few years this will be considered a five star classic.     ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by lloyddobler at 19:43, 25 April 2009 | Report This Post


RE: Observe And Report

The last 5 minutes to this were fucking amazing. One of the best endings to a comedy i've seen. Me and my friends were in a mixture of intense shock and crying with laughter. ... More

Posted by BatFan at 15:47, 25 April 2009 | Report This Post


RE: Observe And Report

L: spyro Mr/s Empire - Did you even bother to spell check this review before posting it ? 'Seth Rogen is a one- comedy army.' '....Rogen as an actor, are deserving more complex,.....' sp; What is this world coming to? Two entire typos? This website is just chaos. ... More

Posted by Bezerker at 14:50, 25 April 2009 | Report This Post


RE: You could not be more wrong

Hilarious film that strays away from many of the cliches you would expect. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Clarence_Worley at 23:35, 24 April 2009 | Report This Post


You could not be more wrong

The Cable Guy, Fight Club, and now Observe and Report. Edgy films have a history of being misinterpreted on release by reviewers who are expecting what the marketing department have promised. The reaction to the film being far grittier, darker and funnier than the marketing department had adequately prepped for is often the review above - a shame really. Observe and Report is to comedy as Fight Club was to the buddy movie. By leagues Rogen's best performance, Layered, uncomfortable and grimly h... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by benmorse at 18:52, 24 April 2009 | Report This Post


QA

Jesus this website is a mess. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by boriordan at 12:45, 22 April 2009 | Report This Post


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