The Feature: 2/5There are many words to describe shopping mall security guard Ronnie Barnhardt (Seth Rogen). Well-adjusted is not one of them. Usually operating on a "taze first and ask questions later" policy, Ronnie would be outright intimidating if he also weren't fundamentally incompetent. His bipolar disorder, deep-seated insecurities and coddling alcoholic of a mother (Celia Weston) rob him of any realistic perspective on both his life and work. Ronnie's affection for the cosmetics counter girl Brandi (Anna Faris) could be a stabilizing element, if she weren't such an entitled, vapid slut who won't give him the time of day. Sadly, Ronnie hasn't had many opportunities for personal development, but that's all about to change thanks to the pervert.
With a serial flasher terrorizing mall patrons, Ronnie has his chance to both prove his love to Brandi and exercise his law enforcement chops. Only Detective Harrison (Ray Liotta), who's investigating both the flasher incidents and a string of robberies in the mall, is standing in his way with his good looks and actual detecting skills. Though Harrison is quick to dismiss Ronnie as a screw up (and isn't exactly off base), Ronnie is not without his surprises. If only he can manage to do one and not the other at a time when it counts.
As far as dark comedies go, "Observe and Report" certainly pushes the boundaries. There's plenty of dialogue and situations that will make you laugh and then immediately feel guilty for it. So the comedy and the darkness of it is not the problem. It is, of all things, the character development, or lack thereof. I didn't need to like Ronnie or even sympathize with him, but I did need him to go somewhere. By the end he is really no different than when he started. He's not better, he's not worse, he's the same. For a film that is basically trying to show a character's journey (whether to improvement or ruin), that's a problem. In the end, there doesn't feel like there was much point beyond getting some raunchy laughs. If that's all you're after, best to watch one of your favorite, foul-mouthed stand-up comedians instead.
Video Quality: 4/5The film is correctly framed at 2.40:1 and presented in 1080p with the VC-1 codec. The transfer exhibits solid and inky black levels, though shadow detail is often affected by mild to moderate levels of black crush. Color rendition and flesh tones tend to be a little over-saturated,
Audio Quality: 3.5/5There's not a lot in the way of surround activity in the 5.1 Dolby TrueHD audio track. The scene at the "Crossroads" has some environmental and directional effects, but overall it's a front-and-cente
Special Features: 2.5/5The Blu-ray release includes the requisite extras that were missing on the DVD release - additional / extended scenes, a gag reel, commentary and featurettes - making for a solid - if perfunctory - special features package.
Additional / Extended Scenes (27:11)
Gag Reel (12:17)
Seth Rogen and Anna Faris Unscripted (7:38): Improv moments from the dinner scene, along with Rogen and Faris talking about the process.
Picture-In-Picture Commentary with Jody Hill, Seth Rogen and Anna Faris: There's little point in the commentary being on video - the trio are just watching the film throughout, though it was interesting to compare Faris's natural facial expressions to the caricatures she created for the film. The picture-in-pict
Basically Training (6:48): A look at the fight and weapons training.
Forest Ridge Security Recruitment Video (3:00): Faux recruitment video shows some obvious cobbling together of on-set cast interviews with material actually produced for the piece. Cute but thankfully brief.
Digital Copy: Download a digital file for playback on a computer or portable device. Compatible with Windows only.
RecapThe Feature: 2/5
Video Quality: 4/5
Audio Quality: 3.5/5
Special Features: 2.5/5
Overall Score (not an average): 2.5/5
A dark comedy with sufficient laughs but no real direction gets a decent technical presentation and set of special features.