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"Observe and Report"

Directed by Jody Hill.
Written by Jody Hill.
Starring Seth Rogen, Anna Faris, Collette Wolfe and Ray Liotta.
Release Year:  2009
Review Date:  4/19/09


Nope, it's not great.  "Observe and Report" features members of the new hot comedy troupe created out of products that Judd Apatow originally created and has some good laughs, but "Superbad" it is not.

Jody Hill, one of the co-creators of the Danny McBride HBO series "Eastbound and Down", wrote and directed this comedy set in a New Mexico mall that appears very similar to "Paul Blart: Mall Cop" except that it is profane, crude, violent and altogether for adults.  Seth Rogen plays Ronnie, a jackass of a mall cop--he's head of mall security, he lives at home with a mother who has a drinking problem, he doesn't quite know how to handle The Ladies, and he visits the local shooting range every so often with two of his mall cop employees.  When a flasher begins "terrorizing" mall customers, Ronnie seeks to make a name for himself by tracking down the evildoer...even though real cops (led by Ray Liotta) are doing a real investigation and they want Ronnie to stay out of the way.

Rogen could do this kind of work in his sleep, and in some of his scenes, he appears to be doing just that--read lines, say "fuck" a lot, run somewhere, repeat.  The good laughs in "Observe and Report" come mainly from Ronnie's drunk mom (Celia Weston), Ronnie's right-hand man at the mall, Dennis (a lisping Michael Peña), and a Middle Eastern mall kiosk worker named Saddam (Aziz Ansari)...they all have bit roles but whenever their lines pop up, you will probably laugh as hard as I did.  There's a romantic element between Ronnie and a crippled coffee shop worker, as well as Ronnie's obsession with a dirty cosmetics employee (Anna Faris), but these mostly do not work.  And, "Observe and Report" is randomly violent in a couple of're kinda watching these moments saying "WTF?" while possibly laughing, but I thought they didn't really fit what was happening.

Overall, I did a little bit of laughing, but I wasn't overly impressed by what I saw..."Observe and Report" is just decent, so don't go out running to catch up with this one.

Rating:  Rental


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Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  This is the highest rating a movie can receive.  Reserved for movies that exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development, setting...or Salma Hayek.  Not necessarily in that order. 

"$X.XX Show":  This price changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently, it is the $9.50 Show.  While not technically perfect, this is a movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.  "Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca", but you'll have a great time watching.  The $9.50 Show won't win any Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see "Office Space"). 

"Matinee":  An average movie that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.  Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about yourself.  A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave the theater saying "That wasn't too, did you see that Lakers game last night?" 

"Rental":  This rating indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one."  Mostly forgettable, you couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the video store was out of copies of "Ronin."  If you can, see this movie for free.  This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a half stars." 

"Hard Vice":  This rating is the bottom of the barrel.  A movie that only six other human beings have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen.  A Shannon Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a movie.  Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or "Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!  (Warning:  strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard Vice"-rated movies.)

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The "fine print":
All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/ except where noted
© 1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 04/19/09