Observe and Report (15)

Film image

The ViewBirmingham Review

StarStarNo StarNo StarNo Star
Review byMatthew Turner22/04/2009

Two out of Five stars
Running time: 86 mins

Observe and Report desperately wants to be Bad Santa, but its handful of decent moments fail to compensate for a wildly uneven tone, several badly misjudged scenes and the fact that the film just simply isn't funny.

What's it all about?
Written and directed by Jody Hill, Observe and Report stars Seth Rogen as Ronnie, a bipolar mall cop who decides, somewhat unwisely, to come off his medication. He dedicates himself to the task of catching a parking lot flasher who's been bothering the female employees, hoping to win the heart of trashy make-up counter girl Brandi (Anna Faris) in the process.

The Good
To be fair to the film (essentially the Bad Cop to Paul Blart's Good Cop), there are a handful of decent moments, including a couple of superbly shot, unexpectedly violent fight sequences, as well as a chase scene set to the Pixies that in any other film would have elicited gales of laughter, but here is simply a case of too little, too late, as all goodwill towards the movie will have long since evaporated by that point.

Rogen is arguably miscast (the film might just have worked with The Foot Fist Way's Danny McBride in the lead), but there's great work from Celia Weston (as Ronnie's alcoholic mother) and from Collette Wolf as an injured burger bar employee who's basically the only likeable character.

The Bad
The biggest problem is that the tone of the film is wildly uneven, meaning that it fails both as mentally ill character study and black comedy. The film is clearly desperate to be Bad Santa, but it fails because Ronnie is such a thoroughly repulsive character and none of the comedy really works.

The film also severely misjudges several key moments, such as a controversial scene where a sober Ronnie has sex with a passed-out-due-to-booze-and-pills Brandi.

Worth seeing?
Anyone expecting the broad comedy indicated by the trailer is in for a shock, as Observe and Report is a disappointingly laugh-free affair that consistently fails to strike the right note. Great soundtrack though.

Film Trailer

Observe and Report (15)
Be the first to review Observe and Report...
image
01 Focus (15)

Will Smith, Margot Robbie, Rodrigo Santoro

image
02 Selma (12A)

David Oyelowo, Carmen Ejogo, Tim Roth

image
03 Far from the Madding Crowd (tbc)

Carey Mulligan, Tom Sturridge, Matthias Schoenaert...

image
04 Chappie (tbc)

Hugh Jackman, Sigourney Weaver, Sharlto Copley

image
05 A Most Violent Year (15)

Oscar Isaac, Jessica Chastain, David Oyelowo

Content updated: 15/12/2017 18:01

Latest Film Reviews

Film Blog

Urban Pundit

Keep up to date with everything in film and cinema at Urban Pundit, the exciting new blog.

Film of the Week

The Conjuring (15)

Hugely enjoyable, genuinely scary horror flick that provides a welcome throwback to classic 1970s chillers, thanks to impeccable production design, a superb script, powerfully atmospheric direction, intense set-pieces and terrific performances.

Latest Close Up

Noah Baumbach Interview

The Frances Ha director discusses co-writing the script with Greta Gerwig, shooting against the backdrop of New York and the real lives of the city’s people, Greta Gerwig’s performance, the music in the film and the picture's visual style.