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The North Wind

The North Wind

The North Wind

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Amelia Kashian
Amelia Kashian
Features Editor

Being passionate is one of the best parts of being human, and I am glad that writing has helped me recognize that. I have been writing stories since I was a little girl, and over...

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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Dallas WiertellaApril 30, 2024

‘Observe’ a funny and incredible movie

Film: Observe and Report

Director: Jody Hill

Producers: Donald De Line

William Fay

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Writer: Jody Hill

Starring: Seth Rogen,

Anna Faris

Runtime: 86 minutes

Rating: R


When a comedian finally obtains a certain level of fame, his career can go one of two ways. There’s the Adam Sandler route, where comedians do overly-hyped comedies full of shallow jokes that the whole family can enjoy. Usually, these films are largely forgettable despite their big box office take. On the other hand there are comedians such as Seth Rogen, who make comedies that may not make huge amounts of cash but are genuine and memorable. “Observe and Report” definitely falls into the latter category — it’s not a mainstream comedy, but it strives to do what all comedies should do, with varying degrees of success.

Ronnie Barnhardt (Rogen) is the head of mall security for the Forest Ridge Mall. He keeps a strict watch over the whole mall, carrying out his duty with the utmost care and respect. But his world is shattered when a flasher exposes himself to beauty salon employee Brandi (Faris), who just happens to be Barnhardt’s love interest. Determined to solve the mystery of the flasher and win over Brandi’s heart, Barnhardt fights against cool and calm detective Harrison (Ray Liotta) and his own bipolar disorder.

What separates this film from previous Rogen comedies is the dark humor. This isn’t the stoner humor of “Pineapple Express” or the dramadey of “Knocked Up,” but more in line with a Coen Brothers film. For the most part, it works well. The taunting of injured or crippled co-workers comes across just as comical as the obscene amounts of drug use and violence during some of the movie’s more entertaining scenes. If that doesn’t sound humorous, then “Report” would best be skipped. For those still on board, most of the humor is deranged enough to satisfy that dark humor taste.

But therein lies the problem — the film is only a dark comedy in certain scenes, not throughout the whole film. By the time it gets to the point of being a full-on black comedy, it seems to be too little too late. It’s obvious that writer/director Jody Hill wanted to cross the line of standard comedy into offensive humor, but was afraid of the repercussions the film could suffer as a result. But as any fan of John Waters knows, directors can’t be afraid to cross that line. This makes “Report” just mildly amusing. It’s not necessarily a bad thing when a comedy puts a smile on your face more than it makes you laugh, but it doesn’t mesh well when trying to do dark comedy.

When the premise is as odd as “Report’s,” a heavy emphasis is placed on the characters — if they seem believable, then the whole movie will work. Fortunately, these characters are very well developed. Of course, Rogen’s character is the centerpiece of the show — he comes across as a real, grown-up version of South Park’s Eric Cartman, with all of his flaws and awkward charms. But even the shallow characters like Brandi are fleshed out. She’s materialistic, but she doesn’t seem like a complete stereotype.

The acting is just as strong. Rogen once again proves why he’s one of the most sought after comedians in the business today. The only actor who seems out of place is Liotta, who seems a little too intense for the slower pace of the film. It’s not that the character stands out, but Liotta’s interpretation of Harrison doesn’t work well.

When “Observe and Report” hits its intended mark, it’s a great comedy. Rogen has proved once again how funny he is and that he’s fully capable of leading a film. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always hit the mark. It’s an entertaining film, but when shooting for an overly offensive dark comedy, being merely entertaining doesn’t quite do the genre justice. True fans of comedy will want to see this film. While others might find it slightly amusing, it may be wise to wait for the DVD.

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