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April 2009

by Wilson Morales


Distributor: Warner Bros. Pictures
Director: Jody Hill
Screenwriter: Jody Hill
Cast: Seth Rogen, Anna Faris, Michael Pena, Ray Liotta, Jesse Plemons
Rating: R (for pervasive language, graphic nudity, drug use, sexual content and violence)


If you thought Kevin James was funny in 'Paul Blart: Mall Cop,' you'll be even more impressed with Seth Rogen's performance in 'Observe & Report.'

The writing is clever and the acting by Anna Faris, Ray Liotta and Michael Pena is sharp and raunchy. Overall, the film is witty, hilarious and outrageously entertaining.

Rogen plays Ronnie Barnhardt, a full-of-himself director of security at Forest Ridge Mall. His chance to serve the public is tested when employees at the mall, including his love from afar, Brandi (Faris) from the cosmetics department, get shaken up by a serial flasher. Wanting more access and power to solve his case, Ronnie decides to become a cop, much to the chagrin of Detective Harrison (Liotta).

When Harrison infringes on Ronnie's territory, both professionally and personally, Ronnie's bipolar traits get the better of him. When he realizes his life is not as perfect as he thought it was, he does his best to set things right however unconventional it may be.

Playing at a sharp and short 86 minutes, Rogen's on point and riotous in his role. He knows how to make audiences laugh out loud. With references to 'Taxi Driver,' director Jody Hill injects some nostalgia to this dark comedy. With last year's 'The House Bunny' and her role as Brandi, Faris is no longer an underrated comedic actress. She's blossoming more with each film.

At times, the movie pushes the envelope by making light of serious issues such as date rape and mental illness, but it manages not to exploit them to a large degree. Security guards, or rent-a-cops as some like to call them, usually get a bum rap for the work they do. In reality, they do the same job as real cops with less force and certainly less pay. If you are a fan of Martin Lawrence waiting for him to bring one of his signature character roles, Otis the security guard, to the big screen, watch this film and trust that Rogen plays a similar role and is just as good.