"I thought this was gonna be funny, but instead it's just kinda sad."Observe and Report
— Det. Nichols, Observe and Report
(2009) is a very
dark comedy starring Seth Rogen as a delusional mall security guard who becomes obsessed with catching a flasher. Being released 3 months after the PG-rated Paul Blart: Mall Cop
, the films have drawn inevitable comparisons
to each other.
This film includes examples of:
- Alpha Bitch: Brandi through and through.
- Back Up Twin: Discussed. "If one of you died, God sent me another."
- Brainless Beauty: Brandi
- Black Comedy: The film is essentially Taxi Driver made funny.
- Black Comedy Rape: Brandi is possibly blackout drunk yet Ronnie has no qualms with having sex with her. Crosses the Line Twice when she asks, "Why are you stopping, motherfucker?"
- Black and Gray Morality
- Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Deconstructed as sane people consider Ronnie a delusional person and try to avoid him for it.
- Cluster F-Bomb: This movie is loaded with these. One example includes Ronnie and Saddamn (an Indian clerk who is harassed constantly by Ronnie due to his heritage) engaging in an argument consisting of nothing of "fuck you's", which grow quiet until they are mouthing the insults to each other.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: Ronnie vs. 6 crackheads. They're able to touch him once.
- Darker and Edgier than Paul Blart: Mall Cop, in no small part due to being Bloodier and Gorier.
- Dirty Cop: Ronnie and Harrison were this in spades.
- Disproportionate Retribution:
- Ronnie shoots the flasher in the chest. Sure, he's a flasher, but gunfire is a bit much for such a petty criminal. He doesn't die and is duly arrested, though.
- Ronnie might be a jerk and a hindrance, but Det. Harrison going out of his way to personally inform Ronnie that he failed the psychological test to become a police officer and the enjoyment he got from seeing Ronnie's dream crushed was just cruel. One of his fellow pranksters even calls him on it, saying it's "just sad."
- Distressed Damsel: What Ronnie considers Brandi. Nell is also in need of some manly backup.
- Dueling Movies: This film and Paul Blart Mall Cop, created completely independently, as most dueling films are.
- Faux Affably Evil: Dennis seems to be a quiet-natured and supportive friend who genuinely believes he can help Ronnie... by getting him to steal, beat up kids and take heroin. Even after betraying Ronnie, he sends a friendly postcard.
- Good Is Not Nice: Ronnie and Harrison.
- Hero Antagonist: Det. Harrison is just a cop trying to bust a flasher and butting heads with a seriously deranged mall cop, but he's also such a sleazebag that he manages to stay pretty firmly in the villain category.
- Heroic Wannabe: Ronnie himself wants to do just about anything to be a heroic cop.
- He Who Fights Monsters: Ronnie.
- Hysterical Woman: Brandi after the flasher exposes himself to her
- Insult Backfire: When Ronnie calls Brandi out on her promiscuous ways after she thanks him for rescuing her from the flasher. Just watch her reaction when Ronnie points her out as one who will stab you in the back by screwing your enemies.
- Jerkass: Ronnie, Brandi and Harrison are all real jerks. In particular, Saddamn (see quote above in Cluster F-Bomb).
- Karma Houdini: Much like in Taxi Driver, Ronnie narrowly escapes punishment for his crimes by managing to become a hero at the last minute. Also, Dennis robs the mall frequently, gets Ronnie to beat kids for skateboarding on mall property, and ends up knocking Ronnie out and stealing a car to flee. The last we hear of him has him partying in Mexico.
- Knight Templar: Ronnie had way too much abuse of authority in his hands.
- Lady Drunk: Ronnie's mom.
- The Mall: Where Ronnie is the head of security.
- Miles Gloriosus: Subverted. Ronnie appears to be an example, until he unleashes a Curb-Stomp Battle on some hoods.
- Momma's Boy: Ronnie. Never really explained whether he lives with his mom or she with him.
- Mugging the Monster: Some drug dealers try to victimize Ronnie when he's dropped off in their hood. Even the audience doesn't realize how crazy violent he is until this point.
- Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Even if you don't consider Ronnie to be a good guy, what he does to Nell's boss and coworker qualifies as "two wrongs making a right".
- No Medication for Me: Ronnie abruptly decides to go off his meds.
- Not So Different
- Only Child Syndrome: Ronnie
- Paper-Thin Disguise: Ronnie tries to go undercover to catch the flasher. No one is fooled.
- Playing Against Type: While Rogen has played jerks before, he earned his fame playing likable schlubs. Many viewers expected Ronnie to be along a similar line, rather than the seriously disturbed man that he is.
- Rabid Cop: Ronnie himself.
- Secret Test of Character: What Ronnie believes being left at "the crossroads" was.
- Shout-Out: Ronnie's brawl with the police is choreographed like the football-themed brawl in Flash Gordon, and features the same music.
- Stalker with a Crush: Ronnie to Brandi.
- Stood Up: What Brandi tried to do to Ronnie. Subverted when he waits outside her house for hours until she arrives and convinces her to still go out with him.
- Throwing Off the Disability: Nell, towards the end, though she was never truly disabled; she was just recovering from surgery.