Observe and Report (2009) - Rotten Tomatoes

Observe and Report (2009)



Critic Consensus: Though it has a mean streak, and does not cater to all tastes, Observe and Report has gut-busting laughs and a fully committed Seth Rogen in irresistible form.

Movie Info

At the Forest Ridge Mall, head of security Ronnie Barnhardt patrols his jurisdiction with an iron fist, combating skateboarders, shoplifters and the occasional unruly customer while dreaming of the day when he can swap his flashlight for a badge and a gun. His delusions of grandeur are put to the test when the mall is struck by a flasher. Driven to protect and serve the mall and its patrons, Ronnie seizes the opportunity to showcase his underappreciated law enforcement talents on a grand scale, hoping his solution of this crime will earn a coveted spot at the police academy and the heart of his elusive dream girl Brandi, the hot make-up counter clerk who won't give him the time of day. But his single-minded pursuit of glory launches a turf war with the equally competitive Detective Harrison of the Conway Police, and Ronnie is confronted with the challenge of not only catching the flasher, but getting him before the real cops do.more
Rating: R (for pervasive language, graphic nudity, drug use, sexual content and violence)
Genre: Comedy
Directed By:
Written By: Jody Hill
In Theaters:
On DVD: Sep 22, 2009
Box Office: $24.0M
Warner Bros. Pictures - Official Site


Seth Rogen
as Ronnie Barnhardt
Ray Liotta
as Detective Harrison
John Yuan
as John Yuen
Matthew Yuan
as Matt Yuen
Matt Yuan
as Matt Yuen
Eddie Rouse Jr.
as Angry Store Owner
Patton Oswalt
as Toast A Bun Manager
Lauren Miller
as Girl Employee
William Sterchi
as Department Store Man...
Milos Milicevic
as Random Crackhead
Danny McBride
as Caucasian Crackhead
Debra-Jayne Brown
as Female Reporter
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Observe and Report

Critic Reviews for Observe and Report

All Critics (202) | Top Critics (46)

The film becomes almost nauseating, though, after serving up a steady diet of violence, drug use, racism and date rape.

Full Review… | October 7, 2015
Critic's Notebook

This movie has a clever idea - what if a mall cop truly believed he was society's last protector? - and then wraps it up in stylish sight gags and muffles the message by making Ronnie just a garden-variety, everyday bipolar depressive.

Full Review… | June 22, 2013

This is one of the best comedies of the decade, and I suggest you check it out immediately - just don't take your grandmother.

Full Review… | September 29, 2012
The Aristocrat

For those who appreciate laughs spiked with venom.

Full Review… | June 4, 2012

It's a full-scale, contemptuous attack on the mall mentality.

Full Review… | August 18, 2011
East Bay Express

A seriously bizarre little movie...

Full Review… | January 11, 2011
Reel Film Reviews

Audience Reviews for Observe and Report

At first glance an inevitable comparison to the Kevin James vehicle 'Paul Blart' springs to mind. To be fair you wouldn't be all that far off either, the whole basis for this film is very similar lets be honest. Both characters are working as security men in a mall and are wannabe cops. Both characters are portrayed as taking their job way too seriously when in reality they are merely shop attendants in a blue uniform. And both characters try to change their lives by applying for a job on the police force despite everyone thinking they haven't got a chance.

So yeah its pretty similar, the only major difference is the fact Rogen's character in this film is more unhinged and eerily prone to violent anger outbursts. This of course can be hilarious at times with Rogen's great comic personality and chubby features, but at the same time its also a bit disturbing and uncomfortable too.

There are plenty of scenes in this which made me laugh out loud, the way Ronnie (Rogen) organises his small team of security men with the up most importance, as if they were special ops. His awkwardness around sexy perfume saleswoman Brandi (Farris perfectly cast as your typical airhead blonde...again), the way he acts with jealousy around real cop Harrison (Liotta), his ongoing feud with Arab shopkeeper Saddamn and the way he exposes himself as slightly deranged, depressive and possibly dangerous to various people, especially in the police psychological examination.

On the flip side there are times when the film feels ugly vicious a bit sad and over the top with the violence, profanity and blood. The sequence where Rogen's character takes Brandi out for a meal, she gets drunk and then they end up having sex, is rather dubious. Why? because Brandi is completely out of it and vomiting whilst Ronnie is banging her. It does seem a tad like rape, but at the same time the sight of Farris' head lurching to one side with puke on the pillow whilst Ronnie goes at it is amusing I can't deny, a nervous laugh there.

There are other moments throughout which seem to go a bit too far also, showing 'Ronnie's' anger, the fight with the cops and Liotta's character, and the finale for the flasher. Its all kinda funny but kinda edgy too, at times you're thinking is it OK to laugh at this?

Saying this is a dark comedy is an understatement, its darkly dark alright and Rogen's cynical, sinister, in your face performance will either leave you laughing, cogitating or hating. I think I prefer this over the Kevin James film simply because Rogen's performance is appealing to me here plus this film is more grounded ('Blart' goes down that 'Die Hard' route). The ending is a bit simple and anti climatic but its a totally fun and rather controversial ride to get there.

Phil Hubbs

Super Reviewer

I've heard somewhere that Observe and Report is Paul Blart Mall Cop in Quentin Tarantino style. Because I love Tarantino's style I thought I should check out the film. It was all right, funny at some parts, with a hilarious ending. Tarantino would've it done better, but the one who said it was his style mustn't have liked the master very much.

Anyway, for me, Observe and Report was the American Hot Fuzz with less action and more obscene humor. The film was pretty average, but I liked it, it was good fun to watch. I like Seth Rogen, he was very good. This is the first movie I've ever seen Ray Liotta in, so I don't know what kind of actor he is, but he did a good job too.

The main character is a mall cop (Seth Rogen), who wants to prove that he's better than everyone else thinks. He gets an opportunity when a flasher appears in the parking lot of the mall. He starts investigating, a cop (Ray Liotta) shows and some crazy things happen along the way.

The film is good for those who like to hear many curse words, find sex jokes hilarious and aren't interested in good action. It wasn't a very good film, but certainly better than most movies of this caliber 3 stars 3-5-14

Bruce Bruce

Super Reviewer

It's difficult to explain why I gravitated towards this. Like everyone else at the time, I just assumed it was a clone of Paul Blart: Mall Cop and I didn't really give it a chance because of that. However, a couple of people whose opinions I respect were saying positive things about it so I decided to give it a shot. Observe and Report is not your typical family friendly Seth Rogen affair, nor it is the Judd Apatow show. Made by the director of The Foot Fist Way and Eastbound & Down, it's actually an extremely dark comedy. Both Rogen and Anna Faris are brilliant in it, and while the story can seem conventional on the surface, once you get into it you realize that it's much different. It feels refreshing in the age of movies like The 40 Year Old Virgin and Superbad, two movies I'm not really that big a fan of. It's also nice to see a comedy like this get so dark and explore a character a bit deeper than just what's on the surface. I found the film to be funnier because of that. It's not a perfect comedy, and there's a lack of style to it I suppose, but for what it is it's great.

Tim Salmons

Super Reviewer

Observe and Report Quotes

– Submitted by Logan A (4 years ago)
– Submitted by Kmastah B (4 years ago)
– Submitted by Kmastah B (4 years ago)

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