Saturday, April 18, 2009

Observe and Report

Movie name: Observe and Report
Year of release: 2009
Director: Jody Hill
Stars: Seth Rogen, Anna Faris, Michael Pena, Ray Liotta, Celia Weston, Patton Oswald, Dan Bakkedahl, Collete Wolfe, Alston Brown, Danny McBride
Genre: Comedy
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 5

Jody Hill is one of the cases where his first independent and small budgeted film got seen by the right people and placed him on the right track. "The Foot Fist Way" was a small film that showcased the talents of Danny McBride, who has since then graced films as diverse as "The Heartbreak Kid" (directed by Peter and Bobby Farrelly) and "Tropic of Thunder" (directed by Ben Stiller), but it caught the attention of Will Ferrell and Adam McKay, allowing Jody Hill to move to bigger adventures. His second film, "Observe and Report" stars Judd Apatow's regular collaborator Seth Rogen and the fantastic Anna Faris. The film follows a young security guard, Ronnie Barnhardt, who is desperately trying to get the attention of Brandi, a clerk on the makeup counter. Ronnie sees himself as the last stand for all that is decent and straight in law and order - the mall is his domain. When a flasher appears and starts disrupting the mall, Ronnie sees this as an opportunity to get closer to Brandi. The appearance of a relaxed police officer starts a rivalry path for Ronnie, in order to get Brandi's affections. "Observe and Report" has a tone that oscillates between the hilarious (usually when Brandi shows up) and the painful awkward (the attempts of Ronnie to be a police officer). Seth Rogen makes Ronnie a naive and eternally deluded young man, eager to make himself noticed and seen. His mom, the hilarious Celia Weston, is eternally drunk and blames him for his father leaving. The funniest moments of the film belong to Anna Faris, who makes Brandi a white trashy slut, who loves partying and drinking vodka shots. The film has it's dark moments, but somehow they never really get developed enough to resonate. As it is, this is a comedy with some bite, but that feels unbalanced and with the need of a different perspective to really push the buttons.