Seth Rogen is Ronnie, the head of mall security with (as we learn later) bi-polar disorder. He flies off the handle randomly, and it is hard to tell whether or not it is his condition or his general lack of intelligence is playing a role in this behavior. His relationship with one of the mall’s employees, a blonde ditz named Brandi (Anna Faris) leads to a disturbing date, that ends on a scene that may be too dark for its own good.
Written and directed by Jody Hill, the story wavers, stopping and starting at random. What initially seems like a story about a mall flasher turns into a film that spirals out of control, and into various directions. Ronnie begins multiple relationships, a detective moves into his territory, Ronnie assault the cops, shoots people, and generally acts delusional.
Rogen is surrounded by lackluster, unfunny supporting characters, with the sole exception of Aziz Ansari as a kiosk clerk holding a grudge against the head of mall security. That confrontation leads to the film’s only laugh out loud line before Observe and Report is content to fall back into mediocrity.
Observe and Report is memorable, if only for its strangely twisted subject matter. If a viewer can figure out the balance the movie is trying to achieve, they may find something of merit here, but that’s a sector of the movie-going audience far too limited for this one to work.
Warner delivers a striking, bright, and colorful VC-1 encode with few problems. Black levels are deep, and the rich, saturated color is gorgeous. Sharpness is superb throughout, and detail benefits greatly. Facial textures are well defined, if shy of being the best available for a live action effort. Mid-range shots are less than stellar.
Flesh tones carry a reddish tint that is sporadically distracting. Minor ringing is evident in a few scenes, and mosquito noise makes a brief noticeable appearance as the mall security team goes “all-in” during a meeting. A nighttime motorcycle ride carries some noise, but is brief.
A TrueHD effort excels at ambiance, perfectly capturing the general noise of the mall environment. Generic music filling the shopping area surrounds the viewer through subtle cues.
A sequence at a gun range is powerful, blasting the low-end with strong shots of bass and offering crisp highs. A car crashing through the front entrance is also spectacular if brief, with shattering glass hitting all channels. This is an effective audio effort for a dialogue-driven comedy.
A picture-in-picture commentary from Seth Rogen, Anna Faris, and writer/director Jody Hill is loud, and the group often tends to talk over each other. Still, it is a fun track. Nearly a half hour of deleted/extended scenes would have done little to improve the movie as a whole. A 12-minute gag reel becomes repetitive after a while, and a segment of improv between Faris and Rogen is likewise somewhat flat.
A terrible making-of featurette titled Basically Training is pointless, mostly discussing the plot and the characters. A mall cop recruitment video is an introductory video for those wishing to apply at this rather deranged establishment.