Monday, April 13, 2009

Observe and Report (***)

Observe and Report.  84 mins.  R.  Written and Directed by Jody Hill.  Starring Seth Rogen, Anna Faris, Michael Pena, and Ray Liotta.

There is a demented sense of humor at work in Jody Hill's sophomore directing effort.  Having left Danny McBride behind (though not too far behind - McBride cameos here) in favor of the nearly everywhere Seth Rogen, Hill follows up The Foot Fist Way with a much darker, more risque comedy.  Observe and Report, following on the heels of the similarly themed Paul Blart: Mall Cop (which sucks), is a totally different beast altogether.  It's an R-rated comedy, and it earns that rating.  Rogen does a nice job and actually stretches a bit here - playing a far different character than his typically likeable pothead losers.  Anna Faris and Ray Liotta are great in the supporting roles.  Though I didn't laugh out loud too much during the movie, I was a fan of the bleak, often pitch-black humor, and I found myself thinking about Observe and Report after leaving the theater, wanting to see it again.  It's the kind of movie that, like watching Big Lebowski the first time, you recognize as doing something different, and though you may not appreciate it fully on the first viewing, it has lots of potential.  There are some great bits here: Rogen's endless "f**k you" exchange with Aziz Ansari (of Parks and Recreation), the Oldboy-influenced fight scene between Rogen and a bunch of cops trying to take him in, and, of course, the five-minute long naked flasher chase sequence at the end.  Observe and Report is certainly not my parents' cup of tea, and it is by no means perfect, but if you like your comedy to take chances, you'll want to Observe this Report.



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