You'd be forgiven for thinking 'Observe and Report' might be a heartwarming, goofy comedy - with Seth Rogen in the lead role and distinct similarities to the recent box office smash 'Paul Blart: Mall Cop'. But within minutes of this blackly comic film starting you are brought up to speed about director Jody Hill's intentions.
Uncompromising in its scenes of violence, sex and hard drug use, this is a film that is sure to polarise audience opinion hugely. For those with delicate sensibilities this is a definite no-no, but for viewers looking for a comedy that isn't trying to toe the line of acceptability this might be the one for you.
Seth Rogen has shorn off his curly locks that made him perfect as the cuddly stoner in 'Knocked Up' for his part as power-hungry security guard Ronnie Barnhardt. Playing the role with a simmering rage, Rogen's Barnhardt is a frustrated, unhinged and aggressive man with extreme delusions of grandeur. He polices the suburban mall in which he is head of security with undue force, and when a flasher begins targeting customers in the car park, he sees catching him as a chance to prove himself.
Fuel is added to Ronnie's fire when the flasher targets the object of his desire, airheaded, cleavage flashing make-up counter girl Brandi (Faris).
Unfortunately a real cop is already on the case, in the form of hard boiled detective Harrison (Ray Liotta), so Barnhardt assembles a band of security guards to help him catch the culprit. The typically ragtag team is made up of the firearm-obsessed Yuen twins (the Yuans), drug-loving Dennis (Peña) and reluctant hanger-on Charles (Plemons).
What transpires is intermittently hilarious and disturbing. The brand of humour is not always laugh-out-loud, but there are more than a few genuinely very funny moments. Rogen is excellent as the sadistic, deranged security chief, and is most certainly far out of the comfort territory of the likes of 'The Pineapple Express'. Faris deserves a nod for her part as the drink-pounding bimbo with perma -pouting lips and the Yuen twins are amusing as Ronnie's loyal followers.
Director Jody Hill has served up a decidedly dark, grubby and unique piece of black comedy that will delight, offend and perplex viewers, while being unlikely to be forgotten.