Observe and Report

Rated 3.0

Whatever his failings, we should at least give 32-year-old director Jody Hill credit for creating three ballsy portraits of modern masculinity run amok. From his lo-fi 2006 debut The Foot Fist Way to his HBO series East Bound and Down, and now this occasionally inspired Seth Rogen vehicle, Hill’s “heroes” have all been brutish, juvenile, borderline psychotic bullies drunk on their own imaginary power and influence. Rogen is Ronnie Barnhardt, a fascist mall cop prone to fits of sudden violence and disturbing racism—and that’s before a pervert invades the mall and flashes the skanky store clerk he loves (Anna Faris). Hill doesn’t back off or sentimentalize—there’s a gag built around date rape, for crying out loud—but the film’s inconsistent comic tone is as off-putting as its protagonist.