Observe and Report

April 10th, 2009


Observe and Report

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Still of Seth Rogen in Observe and ReportStill of Michael Peña in Observe and ReportJonah Hill at event of Observe and ReportStill of Seth Rogen in Observe and ReportStill of Michael Peña, Jesse Plemons, Seth Rogen, John Yuan and Matt Yuan in Observe and ReportStill of Seth Rogen and Jody Hill in Observe and Report

Bi-polar mall security guard Ronnie Barnhardt is called into action to stop a flasher from turning shopper's paradise into his personal peep show. But when Barnhardt can't bring the culprit to justice, a surly police detective, is recruited to close the case.

Release Year: 2009

Rating: 5.9/10 (32,748 voted)

Critic's Score: 54/100

Director: Jody Hill

Stars: Seth Rogen, Anna Faris, Ray Liotta

Ronnie Barnhardt lives with his alcoholic mother. He's chief security guard at Forest Ridge Mall, where he's in love with Brandi, a cosmetic sales clerk, and gets a free coffee each day from Nell, a cheery clerk in the food court. A flasher haunts the mall's parking lot, and at night, thefts occur. Ronnie is intent on catching the criminals but has no investigative skills, is delusional about his abilities, and makes mad accusations. His bête noire is Detective Harrison, the city cop sent to investigate. Ronnie thinks he could be an officer, thinks he stands a chance with Brandi, and slowly loses his self control. Will reality set in? What about redemption?

Seth Rogen - Ronnie Barnhardt
Ray Liotta - Detective Harrison
Michael Peña - Dennis
Anna Faris - Brandi
Dan Bakkedahl - Mark
Jesse Plemons - Charles
John Yuan - John Yuen
Matt Yuan - Matt Yuen
Celia Weston - Mom
Collette Wolfe - Nell
Randy Gambill - Flasher
Alston Brown - Bruce
Cody Midthunder - D-Rock
Deborah Brown - Female Reporter (as Debra-Jayne Brown)
Aziz Ansari - Saddamn

Taglines: Right now, the world needs a hero.


Official Website: Warner Bros. [United States] |

Release Date: 10 April 2009

Filming Locations: Bosque Farms, New Mexico, USA

Box Office Details

Budget: $18,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend: $11,017,334 (USA) (12 April 2009) (2727 Screens)

Gross: $23,930,794 (USA) (7 June 2009)

Technical Specs


Did You Know?

Warner Bros. was concerned about the dark subject matter and demanded the production team come up with a "lighter, softer" version of the film. It wasn't until test audiences gave the edited version poorer test scores than the original version that Warner Bros. let them release the film in its original form.

Errors made by characters (possibly deliberate errors by the filmmakers): When Brandi and Detective Harrison are having sex in his car, Detective Harrison repeatedly says the name Mandy instead of Brandi.

Dennis: Y'all hurt Ronnie, and nobody hurt's Ronnie.

User Review

The most depressing 'comedy' in years

Rating: 3/10

Maybe I just didn't "get" it; yeah, that's it.

It is indeed a sad day for this society when a film like "Observe and Report" is marketed as a "comedy." And as such, it is the worst I have seen in several years ("Fool's Gold" comes immediately to mind). It's the dark side of "Paul Blart" mixed with elements of "Taxi Driver," "Fight Club" and "American Beauty," with none of the intrinsic interest or excellence of any of those films.

In fact, this makes "Running With Scissors" feel like a Marx Brothers movie, and "Zack and Miri Make a Porno" look like "Citizen Kane. Sorry, it has to be said. It is one of the very few comedies in which I felt worse leaving the theater than I did entering.

It is a bloated, dismal, depressing, dysfunctional movie about a bloated, dismal, depressing, dysfunctional man, Ronnie Barnhardt (Seth Rogan) a bi-polar borderline psychotic security guard at a generic Los Angeles shopping mall. With his equally idiotic co-workers (Michael Pena, Jesse Plemons, John and Matt Yuen) he dreams of carrying lethal weapons, joining the police force and capturing a serial flasher.

When cosmetics salesperson Brandy (Anna Faris, who brings the same great sense of comedic timing here as she did in "House Bunny"), is flashed, Ronnie takes it upon his delusional self to become her protector and solve the crime; even though he has no skills for such an endeavor.

Plus, he's a major a-hole, to boot. He threatens vendors, is a blatant racist, terrorizes customers, violates security procedures and basically sexually harasses Brandy (even forcing her to go out with him and then date-rapes her). Yet, after all of this, he is not once reprimanded by his sappy superior.

Not to read too much into this, but what mall would keep a security guard around that a) has a restraining order out on him by one of the store owners and b) tasers some guy for no reason. Wouldn't there be major legal ramifications here? Or am I just a dope for asking? Of course, Ronnie lives in a hovel and has to deal with an alcoholic mother (Celia Weston), so maybe he's not totally at fault.

Acting as the any-man for this movie, Ray Liotta ("GoodFellas") is LAPD Det. Harrison, who plays cruel jokes on the idiot, such as leaving him in the middle of South Central and gleefully informing him that he was not accepted into the academy.

There's a good reason, too, as Ronnie blurts out to the police psychologist that he dreams of taking a shotgun and killing everyone. Yeah, I want a guy on the force to carry those plans around with him.

Then, just when we thought the humor could not get any lower, the film takes a weird and violent turn as Ronnie's best friend reveals a terrible secret and then he takes on the LAPD for some bizarre reason. All the while, a pretty girl at the doughnut counter, Nell (Collette Wolfe), is becoming more attracted to the crazed loser (another example of "reel" life vs. "real" life).

Most of the laughs here were nervous giggles as opposed to the out-and-out belly ones most movies of this ilk illicit. I found myself smiling during just two short scenes; not the greatest endorsement for such a genre. Once again proving that F-bombs - even repeated over and over - or laughing at retarded people do not necessarily make a great comedy.

Marketed as a light, vulgar laugh-fest in the vein of "Role Models" and "I Love You, Man," this dark effort is a truly awful film in every sense of the word, even though director Josh Hill ("The Foot Fist Way") attempts to populate it with eccentric, Jarmusian characters. Most of these come off like his leading man, inept, moronic, violent and a complete waste of time.

Just like the 86 minutes I spent watching this drivel.


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