Jody Hill, USA, 2009, 86 minutes
Following in the footsteps of Kevin James’ Paul Blart: Mall Cop (and what a mighty fierce piece of shit that looked like), Observe and Report features Seth Rogen as Ronnie Barnhardt, a slightly mentally handicapped mall cop with delusions of grandeur in this comedy/drama/underdog story/ummmmm…..
Ok, seriously, I have no idea what the hell this movie was. Watching Observe and Report was like watching a woman go through menopause. There were more hot flashes and mood swings than I could possibly count. It starts out as a comedy (I guess), became a man-against-the-world film, switched over to a drug movie and then ended on a triumphant man-against-the-world note. It seemed like no one knew where they wanted the movie to go at all.
I have to wonder if the making of Paul Blart didn’t have some effect on the style and direction of Observe and Report. Although I never saw Paul Blart (and good luck getting me to go to it. The trailer was a failure of epic proportions, conjuring images of stupid humor only seen once before in the Love Guru trailer), it shares striking similarities with Observe and Report. I mean, it’s not every day that a movie is released championing the protectors of retail consumers rights and both films were shot at about the same time (Paul Blart in March 2008 with Observe and Report following in April and May of 2008). It’s probably just coincidental and wishful thinking on my part (I’m a huge fan of the previous Seth Rogen efforts), but I have to wonder if there wasn’t some worry of producing too similar a movie that lead to some last second script/story changes to Observe and Report in an effort to make a less similar film, at least stylistically. I find it highly unlikely that the producing team could have been unaware of Paul Blart beforehand or would even be the least bit intimidated by a Kevin James effort, but it’s certainly a possible explanation for why the film was such a rudderless ship.
Although the movie suffers from multiple personality disorder debilitating enough to make Sybil jealous, I don’t think it was horrible. I have a gut feeling I would like it much more after a second viewing, although I’m relatively sure it will never be anything spectacular. It’s hard to give an opinion of a film when the advertising is so misleading. This was like going to see Halloween and expecting to see a feel-good children’s movie. I’m getting pretty tired of being manipulated so effectively by movie trailers. This is the second time in a row I’ve gone to a movie expecting it to be one thing and having it be another. Adventureland was a sweet surprise, Observe and Report was mystifying. When I rule the world, the people responsible for creating misleading movie trailers will rue the day they produced these atrocities.