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PCR #472 (Vol. 10, No. 15). This edition is for the week of April 6--12, 2009.

This Week's PCR
Movie Review
"Observe and Report"

Movie review by:
Michael A. Smith

Movies are rated 0 to 4 stars

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"Observe and Report"  by Mike Smith
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Toys in the Attic Part 2  by Chris Woods
Im Back! .... Retire Adenhart's # 34 .... A Leftwich Sandwich .... Go Rays! .... .... .... ....  by Chris Munger
Ray Ferry And Phil Kim Settle!!! Fm Lives! .... .... ....  by Matt Drinnenberg
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Warner Brothers     
Starring: Seth Rogen, Anna Faris and Ray Liotta
Directed by: Jody Hill
Rated: R
Running Time: 1 hour 26 mins

Did you ever go to a movie expecting one thing and getting another? Maybe you thought you were going to see a thriller and got pulled into a love story instead? And I must apologize because I can’t for the life of me think of any thriller that may be mistaken for a love story. That being said, it seems like the makers of “Observe and Report” weren’t sure what they were doing either. Is it a comedy or a drama?

Ronnie (Rogen) is the head of security at a suburban mall. He is surrounded by his underlings (Michael Pena, John and Matt Yuan) who hang on his every word. Ronnie has a crush on Brandi (Farris), the hottie in charge of the make up counter at the big department store. When a flasher exposes himself to Brandi (and others) Ronnie takes it upon himself to become Brandi’s protector, even though his actions hamper the police investigation headed by Detective Harrison (Liotta). Comedy ensues. Except when it doesn’t.

Many films have combined comedy and drama together well. Films like “Die Hard.” “The Dark Knight.” Even “Silence of the Lambs” and it’s “I’m having an old friend for dinner” line managed to sprinkle a few chuckles amongst the drama. But you knew you were watching a drama. “Observe and Report” is actually two….two….two films in one. The first part is pure joy. Having worked as a teenager at the Woolworths in West Shore Mall, I can attest that Rogen and company have managed to capture the inner city that a mall is for employees. The regular customers, the kids that hang out too much. The stand in the food court that gives you free coffee. But then the film turns serious as Ronnie, in an attempt to impress, attempts to become a police officer. Suddenly, the sunny tone from act one is overcome by the darkness of act two. Even a romantic possibility between Ronnie and Nell (Collette Wolfe), the provider of the free coffee and a “born again virgin,” turns dark without warning. And the blame for this rests in the hands of writer/director Hill. The creator of “The Foot Fist Way,” Hill has ridden the cult popularity of that film, and the support of fans like Will Ferrell, to a major studio gig that he clearly wasn’t prepared for.

That’s not saying the film is all bad. The cast does a great job with the material they’re given. Rogen, already certified “funny” thanks to “Knocked Up” and “Superbad,” gets to stretch a little here and does a fine job. Farris really doesn’t have a lot to do, making me think there will be a lot of her showing up in the “deleted scenes” part of the DVD. Liotta is also well cast. He seems to be the only actor who thought he was signing up for a drama and he chews the scenery he’s given. He’s also starting to look like a much taller version of Martin Sheen. Danny McBride (also from “Foot Fist”) has a nice cameo and keeps the laughs flowing until the carnage begins. And I must give credit to Randy Gambill (like McBride and Wolfe, a “Foot Fist” veteran) who spends his time running around in a bathrobe and exposing himself…a lot.

If I could review the film in halves, I’d give the comedy act *** and the drama *. Since I can’t I’ll split it down the middle and give “Observe and Report” **.


This week's movie review of "Observe and Report" is ©2009 by Michael A. Smith.  All graphics this page are creations of Nolan B. Canova, ©2009, all rights reserved. All contents of "Nolan's Pop Culture Review" are ©2009 by Nolan B. Canova.