Published on April 13th, 2009 | by Erich Becker0
Review: Observe and Report
Observe and Report was supposed to be the antithesis of Paul Blart: Mall Cop, a product of the Happy Madison machine that goes for cheap laughs and not much substance. However, somewhere along the line Report turned itself into what it never wanted to be, a below average comedy, stooping to cheap, shock thrills to get a laugh, and never really powering up as a comedy. The movie trolls along for just over 90 minutes, throws a few laughs at you, you’ll smile a few more times, but it ultimately falls flat.
With the amount of talent present in this production its really surprising to see the end result fail so hard. Seth Rogen, who’s in just about everything these days, really misses here as the law enforcement obsesses Ronnie Barnhardt who’s delusional nature makes the character almost unlikable for the entire runtime of the film. Just when you think he might finally catch on to how strong he’s coming on, he completely loses it. The jokes that get the most laughs were so played out in the trailers that the theater was completely silent when they finally came up.
It isn’t just Rogen who lays an egg here, the normally charming and impeccable Anna Faris is completely wasted as Brandi the make-up girl. Ray Liotta, taking a stab at comedy, can’t seem to figure out any sort of cohesive timing for the funny lines he’s suppose to deliver. The supporting cast is a collection of one-note, one-joke caricatures that we’ve seen time and time again to the point they aren’t funny anymore.
The weak story only adds to the even weaker whole of the script. When Barnhardt becomes obsessed with catching a flasher at the mall he patrols he eventually takes a magical journey of blaming everyone of ethnicity, then attempting to be a police officer, mockingly blow away a psychiatrist with an invisible shotgun, take down five drug dealers, and finally fall from grace, get his redemption, and ride off into the sunset in a golf cart. The film as a whole is really paint-by-the-numbers at its best, and derivative at its worst.
Again, its incredibly surprising to see such talent collected and distilled into a cheap comedy you expect to see late-night on TBS. Maybe the explosion of Paul Blart earlier in the year turned people off to a mall cop comedy, or maybe it was Observe and Report‘s own undoing by simply not being good enough to run with the big boys, but after the movie is over you just kind of want to completely forget it ever existed.