Posts Tagged ‘seth rogen


Movie Review: Observe and Report



Better than most Will Farrell comedies…


Stars Seth Rogen, Anna Faris, Ray Liotta, and Michael Pena. Directed by Jody Hill.


Okay, let me say this first: no, this is NOT a Will Farrell movie. I could imagine Farrell playing Rogen’s role. The “arrogant doofus” has become prevalent in comedies and is getting on my nerves.


The arrogant doofus at large, i.e. Seth Rogen, is Ronnie Barnhardt. He lives with his alcoholic mother and is the inept head of security at the local mall. He is a rent-a-cop with delusions of grandeur and a bloated sense of purpose so much so that one of the vendors has a restraining order out on him (and he still works at the mall? Uh, script coach!) His crew include the twin brothers Yuan (Matt and John Yuen), a food court guy (Jesse Plemons), and his second-in-command Dennis (Michael Pena), a Hispanic who talks with a lisp.


A streaker (Randy Gambill) flashes several people in the parking lot and Ronnie is on the case. Sort of. When his love interest/infatuation cosmetics girl Brandi (Faris) is “flashed” by the pervert, Ronnie’s infatuation turns to determination of finding the guy at all costs. Enter Detective Harrison (Liotta). Harrison wants to do what’s right but continually gets hindered by Ronnie’s blundering incompetence. If you or I were in this movie, we would pretty much be on Harrison’s side.


This is the crux of the movie.


Don’t get me wrong; there are funny moments in this movie with some even being laugh-out-loud. For the most part it’s a 90-minute distraction from the reality you are escaping, much like the one Ronnie is. Kudos to the music department for picking out a great soundtrack. Queen has at least two song selections in this one proving that if you’re lamenting or kicking ass, they’re the defacto rock band.


As a movie, again it’s a good diversion if you’ve got nothing else cramming your schedule. As a film, it falls flat. It seems that there was heart in making it, but the technical details were lacking. A subtheme about thefts in the mall was glazed-over and reappears momentarily and then treated with shrugged shoulders. At some point in the middle of the movie the entire thing unravels and becomes a bunch of non sequitur jokes until the filmmakers had to be thinking “we gotta wrap this thing up!” and got back on track for the ending.


To end Ronnie finds true love, self worth, and he captures the streaker, but I’m not gonna tell you how. If you really want to know, I guess you’ll have to go see it. Or feel free to watch its distant cousin, “Paul Blart: Mall Cop.”


Watch for Danny McBride (“Tropic Thunder,” “The Foot Fist Way”) as a crackhead.


My grade: C




Movie Review: Zack and Miri Make a Porno




Another romantic comedy for the low-brow crowd…


Starring Seth Rogen, Elizabeth Banks, Jason Mewes, Jeff Anderson, Craig Robinson, Traci Lords, and Katie Morgan. Directed by Kevin Smith.


Was this movie anything more than the chance to shoot a faux porno with Jason Mewes getting the most action with porn star Katie Morgan? Or letting Mewes walk around naked? Or just having Traci Lords on set for back-alley cred?


“Zack and Miri” is a movie about lifelong friends Zack (Rogen) and Miri (Banks), two friends who have lived around each other growing up in Monroeville and now live together in an apartment. Miri works at the Mall while Zack works at the local coffeeshop Bean ‘N Gone. When the bills pile up too high and their water and electricity are shut off, they come up with a sure-fire way to make money: make a porno. From auditions to borrowing money to their location and equipment being destroyed, this film crew experiences it all. More complications arrive when Zack and Miri eventually discover their true feelings for each other.


How is the movie on a basic level? It’s okay. I agree with one reviewer who said, “Only Kevin Smith can make the making of a porno boring…” What kind of porno is being made where the films two main stars, Rogen and Banks, don’t get naked? Again, outside of Morgan and Mewes “getting’ it on,” there’s nothing to see here except the “love story.”


And that’s really what Smith is all about. “Clerks” was about a slacker convenience store guy and his girlfriend problems. “Mallrats” was about a slacker whose girlfriend worked at the mall and who was about to lose his girlfriend to another mall manager. “Chasing Amy” was about a comic book guy who falls in love with a lesbian. “Dogma” was about a woman who has given up on love and must stop two angels from destroying the Earth (okay, not his common fare…) “Jersey Girl” was about a guy who lost his wife due to childbirth, loses his job, and must not take care of his daughter. He eventually finds love with Liv Tyler. “Clerks II” finds the convenience store burnt to a crips, forcing the slackers to sell-out to hamburger food-chain Mooby’s, while Dante is about to get married but is falling for his female co-worker Becky.


See? A chronology of “love stories.”


To get back to the review… The movie was okay. It begins with about 30 minutes of all the characters dishing out trash dialog just for effect. Tarantino, Smith is not. While there are funny parts here and there the majority of the movie goes through the motions, feeling like a throwback to an Eighties rom-com. Rogen and Banks do a good job with the material given to them but everyone else in the cast seems to be sitting around, chewing the scenery. Watching a movie about making a movie shouldn’t feel like sitting around, waiting and watching a movie being made.


And how can you have a movie with Traci Lords just standing around, and maybe giving that one sorta “insightful” piece of dialog? That would be like having Shannon Tweed read a teleprompter while shooting a commercial for male-pattern baldness.


I could go on about Kevin Smith, asking if he’s even relevant anymore but I’ll save that discussion for another time. Smith claims that without Rogen the movie wouldn’t have been made, but I think the movie was made more for Jason Mewes to be with a porn star than anything.


My grade: C