Observe and Report: Not worth the money

The second mall-cop comedy movie of 2009 stars Seth Rogan as mall security chief Ronnie Barnhardt: a bipolar, borderline psychotic, gun-obsessed and slightly racist mall cop.

Observe and Report‘s meandering plot begins at the Forest Ridge Mall where Barnhardt is the Head of Security. The mall is being plagued by attacks from a serial flasher, who Barnhardt vows to catch. When mall management decides to turn to the city police department for help, Barnhardt becomes enraged that the city is intruding on his turf.

A target of the flasher is Brandi (Anna Faris), a selfish cosmetic counter assistant who Barnhardt lusts after. City police Detective Harrison (Ray Liotta) talks to Brandi, which infuriates Barnhardt and making him more defiant with the police department.

Unfortunately for the oblivious Barnhardt, Brandi is a shallow party girl and when he makes a date with her, she subsequently forgets about it. ?Brandi goes through at least one man a day and has no real substance.

This lack of development is prevalent among many characters in the film. Dennis (Michael Pena), Barnhardt’s “right-hand man,” appears to be an effeminate source of small laughs until he’s revealed to be on the wrong side of the law.

John and Matt Yuen play twin mall-cops who add up to a barely one-dimensional character.

Observe and Report has a fair amount of comedy, most of it physical. In one scene Barnhardt takes on a gang of police officers in a style reminiscent of 1970s kung fu films, while in another scene a flasher breaks a kiss with full-frontal, flabby nudity.

Seth Rogan fans expecting another happy-go-lucky physical comedy will instead be treated to a darker physical comedy. Any other comedy fans planning on watching Observe and Report to see memorable jokes and characters at the very least will be disappointed.