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.


Jody Hill


Jody Hill
1 win & 4 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Seth Rogen ... Ronnie
Ray Liotta ... Detective Harrison
Michael Peña ... Dennis
Anna Faris ... Brandi
Dan Bakkedahl ... Mark
Jesse Plemons ... Charles
John Yuan ... John Yuen
Matt Yuan ... Matt Yuen (as Matthew Yuan)
Celia Weston ... Mom
Collette Wolfe ... Nell
Randy Gambill ... Flasher
Alston Brown Alston Brown ... Bruce
Cody Midthunder Cody Midthunder ... D-Rock
Debra-Jayne Brown Debra-Jayne Brown ... Female Reporter
Aziz Ansari ... Saddamn


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 <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Right now, the world needs a hero.


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:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


The main role was intended by writer/director Jody Hill to be played by Danny McBride, as a follow-up to their previous collaboration The Foot Fist Way (2006), but the studio wanted Rogen as he was a bigger name at the time. Once production began, Hill then wanted McBride to play Detective Harrison, but he ultimately could not commit to the time needed for the role because of other projects. Ray Liotta ended up playing Detective Harrison and McBride appeared in one scene as the Crackhead. See more »


When Ronnie takes Brandy out to eat, he offers her his medication, when he holds it out the bottle is first shown upside down, then when the camera angle changes to show him taking them the bottle is now right side up. See more »


Ronnie Barnhardt: This motherfucker, look at him! That's all the proof I need!
Saddamn: That's racist, man.
Ronnie Barnhardt: Race has nothing to do with this. You fit the profile.
Saddamn: Oh, just like I fit the profile for the pervert?
Ronnie Barnhardt: How do I know you're not the pervert?
Saddamn: My dick is brown, you dumb motherfucker!
See more »


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


When I Paint My Masterpiece
Written by Bob Dylan
Performed by The Band
Courtesy of Capitol Records
Under License from EMI Film & Television Music
See more »

User Reviews

Disturbing and funny, but maybe not funny enough
12 April 2009 | by zetesSee all my reviews

We have a new auteur in comedy director/writer Jody Hill. With two films and one television series under his belt now, his vision is pretty clear: he makes comedies about nasty, mean-spirited people who can be extremely unpleasant to be around. His work divide audiences sharply, and even those who like it, like myself, have their reservations. Observe and Report is heavily influenced by Taxi Driver. Seth Rogen plays the head of mall security. He spends most of his days wishing he were more important, but he also likes to believe that he is very important where he is. He dreams of shooting the bad guys and getting the hot girl (Anna Faris, a bimbo who works at a makeup counter at the mall). When a local police detective (Ray Liotta) starts horning in on his mall and his girl, Rogen begins to fly off the handle. Like Hill's previous film, The Foot Fist Way, what Observe and Report really needs is a few more laughs. It was funny, but it always felt like it could be funnier. The movie's often very depressing, and Hill is effective in making those painful moments work. Even though Rogen is pretty crazy and frankly a bad person, I felt sorry for him. If Hill could pull off more humorous moments, the balance would work a lot better.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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Release Date:

10 April 2009 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Observe and Report See more »

Filming Locations:

New Mexico, USA See more »


Box Office


$18,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$11,017,334, 12 April 2009

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

SDDS | Dolby Digital | DTS



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

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