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.
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Despite a tendency to fluff-up some of its more obvious gags, Observe and Report still strikes me as a brave, subversive, and ultimately near-apocalyptic interrogation of American mores and values. In many ways it is the slap in the face the American public (who blithely overlooked it) needed at the time. Speaks to the world of Homeland Security and Operation Whatever etc. Anna Faris and Michael Peña just kill it.
Despite the laziness of the writing, and more than its fair share of lulls, Observe and Report is a deeply disturbed, pitch black comedy. It's hardly even a comedy, more of a schizophrenic tale of violent revenge and confused justice - but there are also absurdities and jokes peppered throughout. All in all, despite its reputation, it is a quirky and original "comedy" from the very funny Jody Hill.
Never as dark as some people would have you believe, unless your litmus of comedy comes from the Apatow/Ferrell axis. I really don't get the 'Taxi Driver' comparisons, if anything it is a dumbed down version of 'Punch-Drunk Love' with the same sort of aspirations by the filmmaker. Ultimately, it has neither the depth, humor, humanity, or disturbing undercurrents.
I wouldn't pass it off as dark, maybe the people behind it were in the dark as far as the making of it went, but it's more or less exploitative type vulgarity trying to come off as a black comedy. It lacks many things to make this possible, obviously the comedy part in trying to come off as serious with its lead, who's rather a pitiful, unenlightened fuck up for the sake of being a pitiful, unenlightened fuck up.
Mom:"Most people would have thrown me away by now. But not you, ronnie."/Ronnie: "I do it, cos I love you, Mom"*heart falls to the floor breaking into a trillion pieces*/The "Where Is My Mind"-scored slo-mo dick-wagging pursuit (slowing down to sucker-punch Saddamn mid-chase) & the slo-mo kiss (she actually kisses above his upper lip: a kindergarten kiss almost.) are things that'll stick with me for a long long time.