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Observe and Report (2009)

 -  Comedy | Crime | Drama  -  10 April 2009 (USA)
5.8
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Ratings: 5.8/10 from 48,329 users   Metascore: 54/100
Reviews: 239 user | 185 critic | 35 from Metacritic.com

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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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Matt Yuen (as Matthew Yuan)
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Mom
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Flasher
Alston Brown ...
Cody Midthunder ...
D-Rock
Debra-Jayne Brown ...
Female Reporter
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Storyline

Ronnie Barnhardt lives with his alcoholic mother. He's chief security guard at Forest Ridge Mall, where he's in love with Brandi, a cosmetic sales clerk, and gets a free coffee each day from Nell, a cheery clerk in the food court. A flasher haunts the mall's parking lot, and at night, thefts occur. Ronnie is intent on catching the criminals but has no investigative skills, is delusional about his abilities, and makes mad accusations. His bête noire is Detective Harrison, the city cop sent to investigate. Ronnie thinks he could be an officer, thinks he stands a chance with Brandi, and slowly loses his self control. Will reality set in? What about redemption? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Right now, the world needs a hero.

Genres:

Comedy | Crime | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for pervasive language, graphic nudity, drug use, sexual content and violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

10 April 2009 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A szerv  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Budget:

$18,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£326,749 (UK) (24 April 2009)

Gross:

$23,993,605 (USA) (12 June 2009)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The role of Detective Harrison was originally written for Danny McBride. He had to turn it down however due to commitment to other projects. Ray Liotta then got the part. See more »

Goofs

When Ronnie is cornered by the crack heads, the actor playing the second-to-last man he strikes with the baton changes between shots. In one shot, he is an African-American in a gray shirt. In the shot in which he is struck, he is clearly a Caucasian wearing the same clothes with gray hair and facial hair. See more »

Quotes

[from trailer]
Ronnie Barnhardt: The world has no use for another scared man. Right now, the world needs a fucking hero.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Comedy Central Roast of James Franco (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

Babyteeth
Written by Joseph Stephens
Performed by Pyramid
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
An Archetype of Misled Machismo
11 June 2010 | by (Cincinnati, OH, United States) – See all my reviews

I always knew the Judd Apatow crowd was of higher caliber than many others in their genre field. Even when they don't work under Apatow, there is real work, wit and earned laughs in what they do, and here is a film that is a perfect example of how elemental film techniques can make a movie funny. Music and slow motion work in favor of the main character's mindset, but the reactions of his surrounding characters are deadly opposite. He is delusional to the point that he is dangerous. At one point later, there is mention of his being a bipolar case, but not just to lend clarification to his behavior but more to ground him in a real-world everyman situation which makes his heroic, narcissistic delusions all the more unexpectedly genuine.

Seth Rogen's Ronnie Barnhardt exemplifies both the old-school hardass and the modern-day dumbass, and while he merely defends the domain of Forest Ridge Mall, he does so with an aggrandized self-image and the most brutal of temperaments. If it weren't for those bothersome psychological evaluations, he might even be a cop by now. Rather, he's an archetype of misled masculine vigor on a mission: to stop the flasher who has been threatening his territory.

One would imagine it'd be a light storyline, one convenient for the cheaper tendencies of SNL or MAD TV, yet Rogen and writer-director Jody Hill extract a subversively funny character study about a depraved man and his perverse perception of what it means to be a hero. In Ronnie's mind, to save the day means busting out the Taser with his sidekick, a speech-defective Michael Peña, by his side; to love a woman (Anna Faris, as funny and foul as ever) means essentially committing date rape. He is sexist and racist.

There's a good deal of immediate laughs to be had here, found in Ronnie's behavior with another character and how they're oblivious to each other in some way or another, or how Hard rock music and strutting slo-mo complement him while on-lookers are dumbfounded or confused or shocked. For example, Hill gives Ray Liotta his best role in awhile, sharply utilizing his intense temperament to make his character funny. But Hill appears more focused on getting under the skin and verging extremities in order to get a better grasp of who Ronnie is and why he behaves the way he does. Perhaps it's Ronnie's bipolar tendencies that propel the plot, leading our impassioned protagonist to a downfall and a warped idea of redemption. Ronnie isn't an antihero. He's a hero in his own mind and his own territory, and Rogen is more acutely committed to this performance than any before, leaping in with profundity and brooding. Therein lies the distinction between the bottom-feeding shenanigans of one Paul Blart and those of Ronnie Barnhardt.

The grandest indication that Rogen and Hill have scored something above average is when the authentic jolt and utter hilarity of a peak moment of violence reveals the stunner that everything had led up to that moment within reason, if only in Ronnie's line of reasoning. There is always something more rewarding about a comedy that achieves a careful tonal balancing act.


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