Entertainment Today and Beyond

Never Met a Zombi I Didn’t Like…

OBSERVE AND REPORT doesn’t pull in the masses – is SETH ROGEN in danger of becoming a cult attraction?

Observe and ReportIt appears that Seth Rogen is in danger of becoming sort of a cult attraction at the movies. His last two films, Zach and Miri Make a Porno (10 million dollar opening weekend) and now Observe and Report (11.5 million opening weekend), failed to generate much mass interest at the box-office. You have to hand it to Warner Bros for trying to sell the schizophrenic-toned Observe and Report as a main stream comedy as it’s anything but. While watching the film it was really interesting to gauge audience reaction – most of whom simply wanted to be entertained on a Saturday date night. I can’t say they hated it but considering I heard only two or three laughs throughout the entire film, it’s safe to say there won’t be a lot of recommendations that this is a must see movie of the year. Many people were actually groaning out loud as they walked out of the theater.

My feelings are mixed. While I didn’t feel it worked well as a comedy, I was fairly intrigued with Rogen’s totally off the wall bi-polar security guard Ronnie Barnhardt character. Every time he exploded into a violent misguided heroic frenzy there was something strangely exciting about it. The film works much better as a character study than anything that resembles a comedy. Rogen’s Barnhardt is too disturbing to embrace emotionally and that makes big laughs hard to generate. Director Jody Hill certainly dares to do something different, but the result is an uneven film with some of the wildest swings in tone I’ve seen in a movie in quite some time. I am not a drinker of the Seth Rogen kool-aid, praising him and every film he appears in as some landmark comedic achievement, but I certainly respect a good performance when I see one and Rogen is good in this film. Unfortunately the film overall isn’t as good as Rogen. I give it 2.75 Zombies out of 5.

I also want to point out that director Hill’s extended sequence of full frontal male nudity involving a flasher who is terrorizing the mall is unlike anything I’ve seen in a studio film before. The fact that the scene played out so long was the surprise. It made the audience I saw it with cringe and I guess that was the intended point. Is this what audiences are expecting when they go to the movies over the weekend? Somehow I doubt it. I found it fairly funny but also surreal at the same time. You really have to see it to believe it… the scene that is! I’d be interested to know why the MPAA gave it a pass, giving the film an R-rating and not an NC-17. It’s anyone’s guess, but they have certainly been tougher on other films with less objectionable material. Overall, Observe and Report is worth seeing on DVD but there’s no need to run to the theater. Put this one in cult status territory as it never had a chance to resonate with the masses even though the studio was hoping to sneak one by and get a sizable opening out of it. One has to wonder if Rogen’s audience will continue to erode like his newfound waistline.

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April 15, 2009 - Posted by | Reviews | ,

1 Comment »

  1. You know how I feel about Rogen. I think he has qualities that can work on the big screen, but I don’t see him as someone that carries a film. I think he is overhyped and his box office pull (or lack thereof) is showing it. He clearly has fans, but I think there is Rogen fatigue settling in. I actually that Zack&Miri was a capable movie that should have made a star out of co-star Banks, but it didn’t happen. I think the “gross-out” comedy has it’s limitations over the long haul and so far, that is how Rogen has fashioned his career to some extent.
    The Rake
    http://thefilmnest.com

    Comment by thebsk | April 20, 2009 | Reply


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