Pillbox

Observe and Report echoes Mall Cop

After the debut of Paul Blart: Mall Cop in January of this year, Observe and Report seems to simply replicate its previous counterpart. Much like Mall Cop, Observe and Report is set in a local mall, and the protagonist, who is in love with a beautiful girl, has dreams bigger than his simple mall. However, this movie turns out to be more of an adult film and has less of a solid story line. Students at Carnegie Mellon got a first look at the film on April 6 with a special pre-screening.

The movie features Ronnie Barnhardt (Seth Rogen) as a low-life mall officer who loves guns and has a mouth that can outswear a sailor. The opening scene shows a pervert who goes around flashing all the women in the parking lot of the mall. Ronnie, who dubs himself as the head of mall security, immediately gives himself the job of catching the pervert. However, Ronnie is not alone. His entourage consists of two twins (Matt and John Yuen) and a quiet-natured man named Dennis (Michael Pena).

During his time in the mall, Ronnie has become smitten with Brandi (Anna Faris), who is a stuck-up, immature cosmetics counter worker. All the while, though, he is blind to Nell (Collette Wolfe), who is kind to him and serves him free coffee. After Brandi is flashed by the pervert, Detective Harrison (Ray Liotta) is brought in as Ronnie’s replacement. While the pervert is on the loose, a string of mall robberies also occur, which Ronnie once again tries to take upon himself to investigate. With Harrison now in the picture, Ronnie is furious. He refuses to back down and continues to “help” Harrison by accusing everyone on site of being the thief.

After spending a whole day in an empty investigation, Harrison (who is now fed up with Ronnie’s outrageous methods) yells at Ronnie and points out that his mall cop position is insignificant. Ronnie then defiantly attempts to become a real police officer. As the first part of this training, Ronnie decides to invite himself on a ride-along in Harrison’s car. Harrison ends up leaving Ronnie on the street in the most dangerous part of town with several violent drug dealers, but Ronnie turns the situation around by beating up everyone on the spot and arresting some drug-dealing kids.

With his boosted ego, Ronnie decides to ask Brandi out on a date. On the night of his date, he waits at her house, where he is first greeted by a drunk, and finally, several hours later, greeted by Brandi.

Undeterred, Ronnie takes her out, pays for her seemingly endless number of shots of alcohol, and deceivingly feeds her the pills that he takes for a unknown condition (his medical condition is never revealed in the film). After engaging in some adult activity, Ronnie decides he is in love with Brandi and no longer needs the pills.

The psychiatrist from the police examination, on the other hand, doesn’t feel the same way. Ronnie’s obsession with guns and killing people lead him to fail his psychiatric test, thereby preventing him from becoming a police officer. This kicks off a rapid downward spiral for Ronnie as life hits him hard in the face. The movie ends with a surprising conclusion: a revelation of who the mall thief was and a resurgence of the pervert, who appears for one last flash.

All in all, the movie was average. There were moments during the movie when the audience probably just wanted to get up and leave, but the last five minutes are almost worth waiting for. The ending brings together Ronnie’s whole story along with what he loves and what he believes in, but not without excessive violence, a superfluous amount of vulgar language, and more nudity than you want to see. This movie also gave Seth Rogen another perfect role to play his usual obnoxious, bad-tempered, crude, but sometimes lovable, character.