Friday, April 10, 2009

"Observe and Report" (2009) - Movie Review

Jody Hill’s “Observe and Report” is a curious work, fair to say. It has a strong liking to the character it developed and tries very hard in projecting his perception to its audience, and fails by a long yard. Seth Rogen as an actor has built up his maturity for roles like this and worked out pretty well while occasionally comes through does not appeal is the weeping cop doing the deeds after excessive violence and countless inappropriate behaviour. He is the security guard in this mall and takes his job as his values and principles of his life.

He is Ronnie a cop with serious psychological issues and is under prescription. He has his colleagues whom he heads up and assumes the position of head of security probably because his boss gave the title to stop him from coming to his office. Ronnie as he is, disperses orders and conducts his cop like atmosphere in the security office towards his subordinates. His right hand man Dennis (Michael Peña) speaks like a grown up Fez from “That 70s Show”. And there are two Asian twins John (John Yuan) and Matt (Matt Yuan) sharing the enthusiasm for guns with Ronnie. Then there is the kid (Jesse Plemons) who is brought in by persuasion and an odd intimidation by Ronnie. This group establish themselves as the protectors and enforcers of the law in the mall after its customers being put to trauma by a flasher in parking lot.

Ronnie who have been humiliated and seen as a joke for so long really has a case and an opportunity to prove to himself that he is not a nothing. So I sit through when it goes through the positions of embarrassment and ridicule nature Ronnie puts him and others through. Director Jody Hill splashes the screen with the abnormalities stretched in each character. Soon we get into this serious film which now explores the struggles of Ronnie trying to see the situations around turning into ups and downs making him to go the same in his behaviour.

He gets the pinnacle of his enthusiasm when his hot throb Brandi (Anna Faris) gets a peek in to the flasher pleasuring himself in front of her in the parking lot. Things are in the right place for him to take the stand and get everything he has been hoping for. To become a hero. He is while irritated by the intrusion of a Detective (Ray Liotta) in to his territory begins to see himself as cop and enrolls. He kicks ass when dropped in a bad neighbourhood by a set up done by the Detective being fed up by Ronnie’s bothering. And he gets into bed with Brandi while she is inebriated. Anna Faris is strikingly fascinating in making herself this disgusting drunk and making the process a method to show how glamorously pathetic one can put them into.

It sometimes cannot escape the formula of a comedy film resolving into this predictable ending with its bloodiness and offensive nature. “Observe and Report” has tough time finding its position not in story but in its characters. Whether to laugh at them or care for them? The only person we come to care for is the cashier clerk Nell (Collette Wolfe) as she cares for Ronnie and you know how she will be that casual beauty when Ronnie is alone in the end. We also have trouble in whether to be seriously offended to root for a guy who clearly has instability of his mind as the only stable thing in his life. So when his alcoholic mother (Celia Weston) comes and tells him that she is shifting to beer as an effort of change for her son, it seems to make sense both as a funny and emotional scene. The film overall does not work that way.

So this flasher is the running gag for Ronnie’s motivation and when he indeed finds himself chasing the guy, it is beautifully shot. A naked man running with a full frontal amongst the people in a crowded mall with Ronnie running like the world is going to come down with the song “Where is My Mind” by a band called City Wolf, it is the most surreal, funny and motivational thing happening in the film. In a film which I did not enjoy much, this becomes a weird scene of perfect surrealism.

I have not seen the debut film of Jody Hill called “The Foot Fist Way” but this film definitely makes me curious to watch it. “Observe and Report” while often makes you laugh becomes into a rolling ball of teenage confusion of what is happening with me attitude. It goes through a mid life crisis and in the end throws its hand up to surrender for the mediocrity of formula film. It is original in many and has clearly a taste for using excessive violence and random acts of people but it does not fly high enough to make it into the league of the comedies.

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