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Fred Reports on Observe and Report

Published April 9, 2009 in Movie Reviews
By Fred Topel | Image property of Warner Bros Pictures
Observe and Report Poster Observe and Report
Observe and Report is an interesting movie. I can't say I necessarily liked it, but as a film aficionado, and someone who would see every major movie anyway, it was worth having scene.

Review: Observe and Report

It's almost an academic study deconstructing the persona Seth Rogen has cultivated and the genre of lovable losers. That doesn't make it entertaining, but it has something to say.

It's kind of refreshing to see a movie where the underdog really is a failure who isn't going to amount to anything. That's a dose of reality for complacent moviegoers. You don't get your hope or your redemption. Even the resolution is sad.

You get Ronnie Barnhardt's character right away with his interactions. He has confidence with no authority. Basically, he's wrong about things but with the conviction of somebody who knows what he's doing.

It gets dangerous and irresponsible, and right on for that. Seeing people enjoy abusing their power is destructive in the way the Jody Hill group seems to like it, though it's not as outrageous as Eastbound and Down. I expected a little more to come from Ronnie's medical background. That would have been real, not some contrived gimmick, but it ends up seeming minor.

The supporting characters are caricatures: a vulgar ditz, a washed up drunk or an enthusiastic lackey. The only really funny parts are the non sequitur remarks like Chick-Fil-A and some of the abuse scenes.

It still ends up being kind of predictable. Just assume people will say the wrong, politically incorrect thing in a standard movie moment. Sure, it's different, but you still see it coming.

I appreciate that Observe & Report is different. I just think it could have gone further, which is to say I'm so desensitized to violence that beating up children and vandalizing public spaces feels too tame to me.

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Fred Topel
Sources: Image property of Warner Bros Pictures

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