5.8/10
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Observe and Report (2009)

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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.

Director:

Jody Hill

Writer:

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

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Cast

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
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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:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

10 April 2009 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Cuidado con el guardia See more »

Filming Locations:

New Mexico, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$18,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$11,017,334, 12 April 2009, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$23,993,605, 12 June 2009
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

SDDS | Dolby Digital | DTS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

During the filming of a fight scene, Seth Rogen broke a stuntman's nose by accidentally hitting him in the face for real. See more »

Goofs

When Ronnie is doing his monologue in the background when he's looking at himself in the mirror (right after the bench press scene), it is obvious there is a different person looking into the bogus mirror because his body movements are not consistent with his reflection. See more »

Quotes

Detective Harrison: You wanna get hurt?
Ronnie Barnhardt: You didn't bring enough pigs to hurt me.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Cinema Snob: Grumpy Cat's Worst Christmas Ever (2015) See more »

Soundtracks

Babyteeth
Written by Joseph Stephens
Performed by Pyramid
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
An Archetype of Misled Machismo
11 June 2010 | by jzappaSee 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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