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The Captive
 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Thursday, November 27, 2014 - Edition No 925 

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OBSERVE AND REPORT

SYNOPSIS:
Ronnie Barnhardt (Seth Rogan) is head of security at Forest Ridge Shopping Mall and he takes himself and his role very seriously. When a flasher exposes himself in the Mall and terrifies his dream girl Brandi (Anna Faris) who works on the cosmetic counter, Ronnie takes the opportunity to try to display his law-enforcement talents. After all, his dream is to join the police force and he is keen to show off the equally competitive Detective Harrison (Ray Liotta) who is assigned to catching the flasher.

Review by Louise Keller:
There's a scene in which Seth Rogan's self-important Mall Cop Ronnie says he used to think he was the only thing between light and darkness, but now realises he is more like the photo of a man's penis, which he sticks on his forehead. This is indicative of the tone of this downright dumb film that is so low-brow its audience will attempt to yawn a lot, but forget how. In case you're wondering, there's more screen time devoted to a naked penis, as we are subjected to a terminally long sequence in which the flasher-pervert (with trench-coat wide open) runs amok. I lost count how many times 'f*ck you' is included in director Jody Hill's script, but there is one scene in which the expletive exchange count between Ronnie and local shopkeeper Saddamm (Aziz Ansari), who has a restraining order against him, is at least 30 times (including some that are silently mouthed).

I could go on, but I suspect you get the drift. With an unflattering Number One haircut, Rogan not only looks unfortunate, but fails to come out of this debacle well at all. The only thing that does work is the relationship between Ronnie and his tragic, alcoholic mother (Celia Weston is wonderfully convincing) when they both show themselves to be vulnerable lost souls clinging to each other in a harsh world ('You're handsome ... from certain angles'). Collette Wolf is appealing as Nell, the coffee-selling born again virgin with the leg in plaster, and shapely Anna Faris is good value as the slutty, pill-popping, Brandi whose drink is tequila. Michael Peña is unexpectedly funny as Ronnie's lith-ping right hand man with a penchant for cocaine, but what was Ray Liotta thinking when he said yes to this project?

Hill's script generally forgets to ground his characters in reality and as a result even Ronnie's disastrous police department psychological assessment in which he displays his bipolar tendencies fails to get a laugh. The film has a couple of similarities with the recent Paul Blart Mall Cop in that both its slightly chubby stars play losers considered by all to be a joke, but from my observation, I would have to report the flawed (but at least endearing) Paul Blart to be light years ahead....or should I say Mall Years.



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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 0
Unfavourable: 1
Mixed: 0

OBSERVE AND REPORT (MA)
(US, 2009)

CAST: Seth Rogen, Ray Liotta, Michael Peña, Anna Faris, Dan Bakkedahl, Jesse Plemons

PRODUCER: Donald De Line

DIRECTOR: Jody Hill

SCRIPT: Jody Hill

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Tim Orr

EDITOR: Zene Baker

MUSIC: Joseph Stephens

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Chris L. Spellman

RUNNING TIME: 86 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: May 14, 2009







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