Observe a new side of Seth Rogen

Brenna McNamara

‘Observe and Report’ still just as funny as actor’s other comedies

Credit: DKS Editors

Seth Rogen’s new comedy “Observe and Report,” also starring Anna Faris and Ray Liotta, shows more dimensions than one would expect from his acting.

Rogen plays the klutzy Ronnie, who works as what most people would call a mall-cop. But to him, he is more than that. He is the esteemed head of security. He’s the leader of a group of ragtag rent-a-cops comprising two hilarious Asian chubsters and Ronnie’s Jheri-curled right-hand man, played by Michael Peña. The group works together to uphold peaceful nirvana amidst the mall’s chaos.



Starring Seth Rogen, Anna Faris, Ray Liotta

Directed by

Jody Hill

Distributed by

Warner Bros.

Rated R

Runtine 86 mins.

Stater rating (out of five): ☆☆☆ 1/2

The oddball team is called to action when the mall is plagued by robberies and an elusive pervert who haunts the parking lot, flashing unknowing women in broad daylight. One of these women is Ronnie’s love interest, Brandi (Faris).

As the flasher gains newsworthy notoriety, Ronnie seizes the opportunity to claim his authority and prove his love to the shallow Brandi. He has to battle for the case, however, as Ray Liotta’s character, Detective Harrison, is called in and given more jurisdiction because he is an actual man of the law. Conflict and hilarity ensues when the two characters don’t see eye to eye – Ronnie believing Harrison to be power-hungry and Harrison believing Ronnie to be an idiot.

Through the conflict, Ronnie begins to realize his potential of becoming a real officer of the law instead of a mere mall-cop. The subplot revolves around Ronnie’s training and application process. Upon failing, he falls into an existential funk, questioning not only his once enjoyable job, but his life direction and meaning as well.

Writer-director Jody Hill’s focus on the plot takes a backseat to the one-liners and trademark minor characters. Certain quotes are obviously golden; for example, when a mall stand clerk tells of Ronnie absurdly accusing him of wanting to blow up Chic-fil-A because the clerk is Arab, the clerk yells,”Why would I want to blow up Chic-fil-A? It’s fucking delicious!”

Another minor character, Ronnie’s mom (Celia Weston) is an alcoholic, providing shenanigans that are some of the briefest and funniest moments. Scenes with Ronnie’s crew are also shining moments, especially those with the twins, played by Matt and John Yuan, who have on-target comic timing.

Rogen’s participation in this more grotesque, action-filled comedy moves him away from his stoner-dude persona that he has nailed many times. His character’s personal struggle to find an identity and inherent awkwardness are sides of Rogen that have always been second to the comedy. Here, though, it is obvious he tried to create more depth for his character. Even his facial expressions are different in this film.

Overall the movie is as funny as a Rogen fan would expect, perhaps more funny or less funny depending on one’s taste for the different style.

Contact all correspondent Brenna McNamara at [email protected].