What do you get when you pair Ray Liotta’s hard edge with Seth Rogen’s raunchy comedy? Well, a dark, crude, jaw-dropping, knee-slapping laugh-fest … called Observe and Report.
The spring flick stars Rogen as Ronnie, a security guard whose post and power are threatened when a crime spree takes place in the mall. While he can only “observe and report,” the real police, including Detective Harrison (Liotta), have all the authority.
A few months back, we were called to the movie set in Albuquerque, N.M. for a chance to see the set, the stars and more ...
Sneak Peek: The scene looked innocent enough, with everyday citizens walking down the mall corridor, but everything about it was R-rated. As Ronnie and Detective Harrison approach a lotion kiosk, they see the salesman, Saddam, inappropriately rubbing lotion on a patron’s back. Ronnie quickly gets down to business, accusing him of flashing women in the parking lot. After some explosive expletives and explicit ad-libbing, the duo digresses to silently mouthing “f--k you” back and forth.
Dead Mall CPR: Director Jody Hill and his team gave a (nearly) dead mall a new lease on life by taking over the abandoned building and making it into their fictional shopping center Forrest Ridge. The facility housed fake stores like Curvaceous Lingerie, Zoo Town and Dress Right. With many stores to pick from, Rogen found himself zoning out in the lava lamp/black light shop. “It reminds me of my bedroom in high school,” he confessed. In addition to an “upscale” Captain O’Landers restaurant, the food court offerings like Toast and Bun, Banzai Banana and Sub Atomic even came with fake fare strewn across the counters.
Ronnie the Rent-a-Cop: Ronnie represents a new breed of loser for Rogen’s repertoire, a “mall security guard who really fancies himself a protector of justice and has a secret dream [of becoming a] cop.” He lives in a mobile home with his alcoholic mom and is pining for a bitchy makeup girl named Brandy (Anna Faris). Rogen describes him as another of writer/director Hill’s dismal characters. “He makes these epic movies about really pathetic people. To me, that's just hilarious, to paint someone in the light of a hero when they're clearly the type of guy most people ignore and avoid.”
Detective Harrison on Duty: He’s played a lot of good guys and bad guys, but Liotta confesses, “Every time I’ve done a comedy, I’ve had to read for it.” But he doesn’t mind: “I didn’t care. I got it.” The veteran actor says his friends get a kick out of his characters like Detective Harrison because he says, “I’ve never been in a fight in my life. My friends laugh that I’m playing these kinds of characters, so it is always fun to play something you’re not.” In this case, he’s a cop who would rather be solving murders than investigating perverts and robberies at the local mall.
The Guy Calling the Shots: Observe and Report marks Hill’s sophomore follow up to his strip mall comedy The Foot Fist Way. He’s quick to admit Observe is “certainly not for everyone” as he breaks down genre barriers by adding genuine moments of angst, action-packed comedy and male nudity. He even says there might be a third “mall culture” comedy on the way. “I've thought about doing a third one … I've always been fascinated by the kind of guy you meet who, no matter what he does, like a ticket-taker at the movies, who will yell at you for being five minutes late because he can … There's something tragic and funny about it.”