Observe and Report (2009)

Seth Rogen, Ray Liotta
written and directed by Jody Hill

This is the blackest black comedy I think I’ve ever seen. There are moments of tenderness in weird places, many moments of comedic violence that goes so far as to be disturbing, a borderline date-rape scene, and characters you root for but can’t stand. Just about every positive emotion the film makes you feel lasts only a moment because whatever scenario the filmmakers use in generating that positivity is taken to such extremes that it quickly becomes repulsion.

It’s not a movie one likes or enjoys. I suppose one can appreciate it, for it does seem to be successful (I think!) at what it tries to do, but there were moments when I laughed at something and then a minute later felt awful about laughing at it because as events unfolded the thing I laughed at became atrocious. In this way, I feel I was played, or manipulated, as if this were some elaborate Andy Kaufmann experiment.

I mentioned in my Twitterstream last night that it was a super-black comedy and someone responded that he’d heard one reviewer call it a comedic version of Taxi Driver. This comparison almost totally works, and I’ll have to think about it some. Taxi Driver is another film that is impossible to say you like or enjoy, and there are a lot of similarities between the films’ main characters and storylines.

Impossible to recommend. I’d pretty much tell everyone to stay away unless they’re into this kind of thing.

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