Seth Rogen, Anna Faris, Michael Pena, Ray Liotta
Charles: Are we gonna be getting paid extra for this? Because…it’s like…pretty separate…
Ronnie: Let me ask you something. How much did they get paid to storm Normandy? How much did King Arthur get paid to kill Merlin? How much did they get paid to invent television? Nothing. They did it because they knew it was right.
The head of mall security, Ronnie Barnhardt (Rogen), is a bizarre, angry, awkward, occasionally violent guy who thinks he has more power than he really does. When a man flashes several women in the parking lot and then several stores in the mall are robbed, Ronnie resents the police taking away what he sees as his case. Ronnie attempts to solve the case, join the police force, and win the love of a makeup counter girl, Brandi (Faris).
This is yet another middling comedy featuring Seth Rogen, a lot of obscenities, copious amounts of male nudity, and broad character stereotypes. Sure, there are funny moments, but the central character of Ronnie is clearly so disturbed that it’s hard to see most of the movie as even dark comedy.
It’s the usual set up: a generally good-hearted, but socially awkward buffoon is in a position that affords him less power than he thinks he has, so he goes around intimidating people and overstepping his authority whenever he feels like it. (How is Will Ferrell not in this movie??) Our ‘hero’ also pines for the vapid, obnoxious girl who works at the makeup counter, all the while being oblivious to the flirtations of the cute, nice girl who works at one of the restaurants in the food court. Bet ya can’t guess who he eventually ends up with!
There are some funny exchanges and clever moments, but for the most part, it’s stuff we’ve seen before, many times. Overriding it all is that creepy feeling that we’re watching a disturbed individual who needs real help. Ronnie is delusional, has a penchant for violence, is from a broken family (his mother blames him for his father leaving them), and has been diagnosed as bi-polar. I know all that stuff can, and has been used to comedic effect before, but here it just falls flat.
I think one character summed it up well when he emerges from the closet he was hiding in to overhear Ronnie being rejected by the police force: “Ya know, I thought this was going to be funny, but…it’s just sad.”
Apparently you can beat up several police officers and only spend a couple days in jail.
10 – 4 for being more disturbing than funny – .4 for standard, predictable plotting – .5 for some annoying characters and performances = 5.1