I’m pretty sure Observe and Report is a comedy. It’s billed as one, and it stars comedian Seth Rogen. But it isn’t funny. It’s disturbing.
In the film, Rogen plays a functionally psychotic head of security at a shopping mall. He’s unstable and violent, but appears to have found a niche in which he can mask the former and occasionally indulge the latter. Over the course of the film, events disturb his balance and he spirals down into a full-blown psychotic episode.
Observe and Report plays this for laughs, but it isn’t funny. Rogen’s character is, by turns, pathetic and repulsive. The people he hurts stay hurt. The people he intimidates stay afraid. Nothing about this is good, and nothing ends well. This is a disturbing, scary, deeply weird film, and nothing at all like what I expected. Perhaps the joke was on me.