OBSERVE & REPORT (**1/2) - Starring Seth Rogen, Anna Faris, Ray Liotta, Michael Pena, Celia Weston and Aziz Ansari.
Directed by Jody Hill.
Haven't seen Paul Blart: Mall Cop, but I imagine this is the bizarro-world, evil version of that movie. Seth Rogen plays Ronnie Bernhardt, a bipolar, mean-spirited, delusional mall cop who sees himself as a lone warrior keeping mall patrons safe from flashers. It's a lot like The Foot-Fist Way, but it goes even further than Foot-Fist ever dared.
The biggest laugh for me came in the first five minutes. Toward the end though, one character expressed what I'd been feeling about the previous half-hour. When a detective is listening in to Ronnie being told he doesn't qualify to be a real policeman, he comes out of hiding and says, "I thought this was going to be funny, but it's really kinda sad." It's underlined by a scene at the end of the flasher running through the mall, and there are no Austin Powers/Beowulf tricks to hide his shortcomings.
I appreciate Seth Rogen going for something different, and going full out, but I keep thinking of Alan Alda's rule of comedy he expresses in Woody Allen's Crimes & Misdemeanors: if it bends, it's funny. If it breaks, it's not funny. This movie bends a lot and then it breaks.