The Films of Jody Hill
The Foot Fist Way
Observe and Report (January 10/11)
A seriously bizarre little movie, Observe and Report follows Ronnie Barnhardt (Seth Rogen), a dimwitted yet arrogant mall cop, as he becomes determined to track down and arrest a troublesome flasher - with his efforts eventually complicated by the arrival of a slick detective (Ray Liotta's Harrison) on the scene. It's clear right from the outset that Jody Hill isn't looking to offer up a typically predictable bit of Hollywood filmmaking (ie Paul Blart: Mall Cop this is not), as the writer/director has infused Observe and Report with an extremely specific comedic sensibility that is, at times, downright nasty in its execution. The movie's atmosphere of aggressive weirdness is reflected in everything from its oddball performances to its off-kilter (yet meticulously conceived) visuals to its impressively unpredictable storyline, yet despite its myriad of positive attributes, Observe and Report never quite becomes the consistently enthralling piece of work that one might've hoped for - with the film's biggest obstacle surely the unevenness of its narrative (ie the episodic nature of Hill's screenplay ensures that certain sections of the movie are far more engaging and entertaining than others). By the time the movie marches into its surprisingly dark (and progressively absurd) third act, Observe and Report has, however, established itself as an utterly singular comedy that seems destined for cult status - with the inclusion of an absolutely breathtaking finale, in which Ronnie engages in a slow-motion chase with the aforementioned flasher, alone justifying the film's entire existence.