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Jody Hill
Seth Rogen, Ray Liotta, Anna Faris
Writing Credits:
Jody Hill

Bi-polar mall security guard Ronnie Barnhardt is called into action to stop a flasher from turning shopper's paradise into his personal peep show.

Box Office:
$18 million.
Opening Weekend
$11,017,334 on 2727 screens.
Domestic Gross

Rated R.

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
English Dolby TrueHD 5.1
French Dolby 5.1
Spanish Dolby 5.1
Portuguese Dolby 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 87 min.
Price: $9.98
Release Date: 9/22/09

• “Behind the Scenes” Picture-in-Picture
• Additional/Extended Scenes
• Gag Reel
• “Unscripted” Featurette
• “Basically Training” Featurette
• “Security Recruitment Video”


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-Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


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Observe And Report [Blu-Ray] (2009)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (November 18, 2021)

On paper, 2009’s Observe and Report looked like a stinker. It came from writer/director Jody Hill, the “mastermind” behind the awful Foot Fist Way, it starred the seriously overexposed Seth Rogen, and it featured a plot that seemed like little more than a rehash of Paul Blart: Mall Cop. How could it not suck?

Perhaps my low expectations were a factor, but I must admit I liked Observe more than I expected. The film takes place at Forest Ridge Mall, where a chubby pervert (Randy Gambill) causes havoc: he routinely exposes himself to shoppers in the parking lot. This greatly offends chief mall security guard Ronnie Barnhardt (Rogen), who makes it his mission to stop the flasher.

Already pretty intense, he becomes even more focused when the perv traumatizes makeup girl Brandi (Anna Faris), the girl over whom he obsesses. Ronnie hopes to catch the flasher so he can prove his worth to Brandi and make her love him, even though this means he constantly butts head with police Detective Harrison (Ray Liotta).

When I indicated that I liked Observe more than I expected, I didn’t mean that as a strong recommendation. I went into the film with exceedingly low expectations.

Indeed, I figured I’d hate it just as much as I disliked Foot Fist Way. When Observe proved less obnoxious, that made it a relative winner.

But that doesn’t mean the film excels or delights. Instead, it amuses in a moderate way and that’s about it. Given my expectations, I’ll take it, as at least Observe proves reasonably entertaining from start to finish.

Though it clearly won’t be for everyone. Observe rarely tries to ingratiate itself to the audience. It comes packed with profanity, includes flashes of violence, and boasts the most horrific scene of nudity since Borat. Actually, the skin here may be more revolting, and I never thought I’d say that.

Even without the violence, profanity and nudity, Observe is a polarizing film just because it so rarely tries to endear itself to the viewer. Ronnie occasionally gives us minor reasons to care for him, but he’s usually pretty abrasive.

Except for fast food clerk Nell (Collette Wolfe), the other supporting characters tend to be unlikable as well. Indeed, the film clearly makes Brandi a self-absorbed bimbo to give Ronnie a little more humanity by contrast.

Rogen tends to have two performance modes: amiable goofball or angry jerk. He usually goes with the former and just shows flashes of the latter, but here we find the opposite. Ronnie is the kind of character we usually get from Hill collaborator Danny McBride: self-deluded, egocentric and creepy.

I suspect Hill had McBride in mind when he wrote Observe, as Ronnie definitely feels like a McBride character. I’d guess that Rogen got the part for his moderate marquee value as well as his age; the part makes more sense with someone in his twenties, so the older McBride would make an already off-putting part even spookier.

While I’m pretty sick of him at this point, I can’t quibble with Rogen’s performance. In other flicks such as Zack and Miri Make a Porno, Rogen’s angry side often doesn’t fit his character well. Here the edge makes more sense, and in a twist, Ronnie’s general abrasiveness allows his flashes of humanity to become more effective.

Not that this is a warm character piece. Observe and Report mostly exists as an outrageous piece of over the top comedy, and it occasionally succeeds.

The film’s too aggressive and potentially offensive to work for a mass audience, but it provides decent entertainment for those with a darker sensibility.

The Disc Grades: Picture B+/ Audio C+/ Bonus B

Observe and Report appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This became a more than satisfactory presentation.

Sharpness looked mostly solid. A few wider shots could lean a little soft, but the majority of the flick came across as distinctive and well-defined.

No issues with jagged edges or moiré effects materialized, and I saw no signs of edge haloes. Print flaws remained absent.

Colors went with a fairly standard orange/amber and teal. These didn’t excel but they looked fine given the design parameters.

Blacks felt deep and dark, while shadows appeared smooth and concise. This was a perfectly solid image.

As for the Dolby True HD 5.1 soundtrack of Observe and Report, it failed to offer an especially memorable experience. The soundfield focused on the front spectrum, and music presented the most prominent element.

The score showed good stereo imaging, and we got some decent ambience, but that was about it. Surrounds added some mild reinforcement but not much else, so this was a low-key experience most of the time.

Audio quality was fine. Speech sounded distinctive and natural, without edginess or other issues.

Effects didn’t have much to do, but they were acceptable for what they offered. Gunfire was the most prominent element; when shots occurred, they offered nice punch, but they weren’t a frequent addition.

Music appeared reasonably full and rich. There wasn’t enough here to merit a grad above a “C+”, though, so don’t expect a memorable soundtrack.

How did the Blu-ray compare to the DVD version? While the lossless TrueHD mix showed a bit more range and impact, the track’s limited soundfield meant we didn’t get much of an improvement there.

Visuals became a different matter. The DVD packed in both 1.33:1 and 2.35:1 versions, so picture quality seemed problematic at best.

This meant the Blu-ray offered vastly superior definition, colors and clarity. Expect an enormous upgrade here.

Although the DVD came with no extras, we get a mix of materials on the Blu-ray, and we start with Behind the Scenes, a picture-in-picture feature. Rather than provide a mix of clips, though, this instead becomes nothing more than a video commentary.

Why call it a “behind the scenes picture-in-picture” feature instead of a video commentary? I have no idea, but we never see anything other than the participants as they watch the movie.

Here we find a running, screen-specific track with writer/director Jody Hill and actors Seth Rogen and Anna Faris. All three sit together to discuss story and characters, cast and performances, sets and locations, music, stunts, and related production domains.

Unsurprisingly, a jokey tone dominates the commentary. This doesn’t annoy like I feared it would, as we get a light and fun feel much of the time.

We learn a reasonable amount about the shoot, and we even find some negativity along the way, mainly aimed at Albuquerque, the town in which they based the production. Of course, it can be tough to tell how seriously we should take Rogen and Hill when they knock New Mexico – Faris laughs but doesn’t participate – but they seem to be less than fond of the location, at least.

In any case, this feels like a pretty solid commentary. We don’t get tons of nuts and bolts, but we find s good combination of laughs and facts.

Unscripted spans seven minutes, 38 seconds and brings more from Rogen, Faris, Hill and actor Michael Peña. They tell us about doing improv and we see a bunch of alternate lines from various scenes. This becomes a good mix of unused lines and info.

With Basically Training, we find a six-minute, 38-second piece with Hill, Rogen, stunt coordinator Gary M. Hymes and actors Ray Liotta and Danny McBride.The program mainly looks at Rogen’s character and performance. It becomes a decent overview.

A novelty reel, Forest Ridge Mall: Security Recruitment Video lasts three minutes, one second and shows a fake ad meant to hire mall guards. It offers minor amusement.

17 Additional/Extended Scenes occupy a total of 27 minutes, 11 seconds. Many of these just expand existing sequences, but we find some new threads as well.

We see a lot more of Ronnie’s attempts to train Charles, and we also find a plot line in which Detective Harrison and the cops battle Ronnie at the mall. This provides some interesting elements.

Finally, a Gag Reel gives us 12 minutes, 17 seconds of material. Though we find some alternate/unused lines, mostly we discover goofs/giggles. Since this means a seemingly endless run of Rogen’s annoying laugh, that becomes a problem.

Would Observe and Report have fared better if it hadn’t quickly followed the similarly plotted Paul Blart: Mall Cop to the big screen? Probably not, as the film’s crudeness and aggressiveness will make it off-putting to most. I can’t say I thought it was a great film, but the movie has flashes of humor and provides enough amusement to succeed.

The Blu-ray brings very good picture, adequate audio and a mix of bonus materials. This is a decent release for a sporadically entertaining movie.

To rate this film, visit the original review of OBSERVE AND REPORT

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