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Observe and Report movie poster

Observe and Report

Genre: Comedy
Rated: R
Directed by:
Jody Hill
Starring: Seth Rogen, Ray Liotta, Michael Peña, Anna Faris
, Celia Weston
Released by: Warner Bros. Pictures

In Short: Observe and Report is the kind of film that only a dopey 12-year-old boy could love, but keep in mind its R rating. Others beware.
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Seth Stumbles
Sad to "Report"

It had to happen. Actor Seth Rogen has been on such a great ride for the last few years, beginning with his terrific supporting role in The 40-Year-Old Virgin, and rolling along into leading roles in many of the funniest flicks to come out in the last few years. Think Knocked Up, Superbad, Pineapple Express, and Zack and Miri Make a Porno. Sadly, Observe and Report, his latest offering, is definitely not one of those.

Rogen stars as Ronnie Barnhardt, a nerdy, bipolar mall security guard obsessed with the idea of becoming a police officer. He's surrounded by misfit co-workers, has an unrequited crush on a beauty-counter girl (Anna Faris), and has a drunken mother (Celia Weston, one of the few bright spots in the film) only a son could love. When a flasher begins terrorizing women in the mall's parking lot, Ronnie sees his chance to solve the crime and make it to the police academy as a result. Needless to say, he's not exactly police-force material.

Seth Rogen in Observe and Report Anna Faris and Seth Rogen in Observe and Report

Perhaps if you are a 12-year-old boy, you may find some of the crass comedy in this truly lame movie funny. But for film fans that actually appreciate a well-crafted joke or a hilarious through line, Observe and Report is bound to disappoint. Poor humor, incredibly stupid situations, and some pretty bad acting are the things that characterize this flick, culminating in an extended sequence with the incredibly unattractive mall flasher letting it all hang out as he sprints through the mall.

That sequence leads to the eternal cinematic question that women everywhere wish we could find the answer to: why is it that the only men who ever get fully naked onscreen in legitimate (i.e., non-pornographic) movies are always the least attractive humans on the planet? Observe and Report is one of those movies that, despite being mercifully short (it runs 86 minutes), you still feel like the filmmaker has stolen time from your life, time you will never get back.

Reviewed by Jenny Peters

(Updated: 04/09/09 KR)

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