I had high hopes for Observe and Report but they came crashing to the ground in no time. You know it is a bad sign when you look at your watch thinking the film has to be over soon and find you are only 25 minutes into it. This means you have at least an hour of mindless stupidity and bad acting still left to live through. Written by Jody Hill who’s only claim to fame is acting in Superbad, he created a script that was super terrible. Then he attempted to direct his horrible script which is like a blind man being left to fly a jumbo airliner. The fact it is going to crash is obvious, you just hope you aren’t around when it does. Unfortunately I was.

I could easily insert the plot line of Paul Blart: Mall Cop here and you would never know the difference. Except of course that Kevin James made his film work. Ronnie Barnhardt (Seth Rogan) is head of Mall Security with a huge chip on his shoulder and dreams of becoming a real cop. Oh and he is also infatuated with Brandi (Anna Faris) the girl who works in cosmetics. Sound familiar? When a pervert starts flashing women in the parking lot (not to mention the audience) Ronnie tries to prove he can catch the guy before the local detective (Ray Liotta) has a chance. That is pretty much the entire story. The rest of the time it is filled with anything but creativity or an attempt at solid humor. The best they could come up with is two guys yelling F-You back and forth across the mall for a good 45 seconds. Thinking if they say it with different inflections it comes across as funny and ground breaking. Wrong.

Even the amazing Anna Faris who is my favorite comedic actress on the planet could not save this drivel. In fact the only three times I laughed in the entire movie was due to her timing and delivery. Seth Rogan who I normally like came across as boorish and arrogant and made a character that I could neither side for nor get behind. Even though his character is supposed to be that way to a degree the writing gave him nothing to bring about a redemptive or likeable quality. And don’t try and sell me this hooey about it being a dark character. Hot Fuzz proved hands down that you can create dark comedy that is brilliant and creative. Unfortunately no one state side has the talent or ability. If they do they have not been hired by the studios in years. We have grown happy with vulgarity (not even unique in its use) for the sake of vulgarity. These films remind me of 16 year old high school students who finally get the house to themselves for a weekend. They have no idea what to do with all that R Rated freedom so they just throw in every crude word and action they can think of. Never giving second thought to making the film actually work.

Observe and Report is Rated R for pervasive language, graphic nudity, drug use, sexual content and violence. All of these are fine if the writers are mature enough to use them to build plot and character. Instead these flail about like a baby with a power tool. Sure, I was up for a Paul Blart with a little edge but Observe and Report just didn’t deliver anything worth seeing. If you loved Blart you will hate this even more. If you hated Blart you still will find little in this to enjoy. Just go rent Hot Fuzz again and be done with it. I give this 0 out of 5 Trench Coats (a first for me I think) and hope you spend your movie money a little more wisely.

-Matt Mungle


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