Observe and Report

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The ViewAuckland Review

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Review byMatthew Turner22/04/2009

Two out of Five stars
Running time: 86 mins

Observe and Report desperately wants to be Bad Santa, but its handful of decent moments fail to compensate for a wildly uneven tone, several badly misjudged scenes and the fact that the film just simply isn't funny.

What's it all about?
Written and directed by Jody Hill, Observe and Report stars Seth Rogen as Ronnie, a bipolar mall cop who decides, somewhat unwisely, to come off his medication. He dedicates himself to the task of catching a parking lot flasher who's been bothering the female employees, hoping to win the heart of trashy make-up counter girl Brandi (Anna Faris) in the process.

The Good
To be fair to the film (essentially the Bad Cop to Paul Blart's Good Cop), there are a handful of decent moments, including a couple of superbly shot, unexpectedly violent fight sequences, as well as a chase scene set to the Pixies that in any other film would have elicited gales of laughter, but here is simply a case of too little, too late, as all goodwill towards the movie will have long since evaporated by that point.

Rogen is arguably miscast (the film might just have worked with The Foot Fist Way's Danny McBride in the lead), but there's great work from Celia Weston (as Ronnie's alcoholic mother) and from Collette Wolf as an injured burger bar employee who's basically the only likeable character.

The Bad
The biggest problem is that the tone of the film is wildly uneven, meaning that it fails both as mentally ill character study and black comedy. The film is clearly desperate to be Bad Santa, but it fails because Ronnie is such a thoroughly repulsive character and none of the comedy really works.

The film also severely misjudges several key moments, such as a controversial scene where a sober Ronnie has sex with a passed-out-due-to-booze-and-pills Brandi.

Worth seeing?
Anyone expecting the broad comedy indicated by the trailer is in for a shock, as Observe and Report is a disappointingly laugh-free affair that consistently fails to strike the right note. Great soundtrack though.

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Observe and Report
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Content updated: 19/11/2019 14:03

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