Sunday, 12 May 2013

Observe and Report (2009)

At first glance an inevitable comparison to the Kevin James vehicle 'Paul Blart' springs to mind. To be fair you wouldn't be all that far off either, the whole basis for this film is very similar lets be honest. Both characters are working as security men in a mall and are wannabe cops. Both characters are portrayed as taking their job way too seriously when in reality they are merely shop attendants in a blue uniform. And both characters try to change their lives by applying for a job on the police force despite everyone thinking they haven't got a chance.

So yeah its pretty similar, the only major difference is the fact Rogen's character in this film is more unhinged and eerily prone to violent anger outbursts. This of course can be hilarious at times with Rogen's great comic personality and chubby features, but at the same time its also a bit disturbing and uncomfortable too.

There are plenty of scenes in this which made me laugh out loud, the way 'Ronnie' (Rogen) organises his small team of security men with the up most importance, as if they were special ops. His awkwardness around sexy perfume saleswoman 'Brandi' (Farris perfectly cast as your typical airhead blonde...again), the way he acts with jealousy around real cop 'Harrison' (Liotta), his ongoing feud with Arab shopkeeper 'Saddamn' and the way he exposes himself as slightly deranged, depressive and possibly dangerous to various people, especially in the police psychological examination.

On the flip side there are times when the film feels ugly, vicious, a bit sad and over the top with the violence, profanity and blood. The sequence where Rogen's character takes 'Brandi' out for a meal, she gets drunk and then they end up having sex, is rather dubious. Why? because 'Brandi' is completely out of it and vomiting whilst 'Ronnie' is banging her. It does seem a tad like rape, but at the same time the sight of Farris' head lurching to one side with puke on the pillow whilst 'Ronnie' goes at it is amusing I can't deny, a nervous laugh there.

There are other moments throughout which seem to go a bit too far also, showing 'Ronnie's' anger, the fight with the cops and Liotta's character, and the finale for the flasher. Its all kinda funny but kinda edgy too, at times you're thinking 'is it OK to laugh at this?'.

Saying this is a dark comedy is an understatement, its darkly dark alright and Rogen's cynical, sinister, in your face performance will either leave you laughing, cogitating or hating. I think I prefer this over the Kev James film simply because Rogen's performance is appealing to me here plus this film is more grounded ('Blart' goes goes down that 'Die Hard' route...). The ending is a bit simple and anti climatic but its a totally fun and rather controversial ride to get there.