Sunday, April 26, 2009

Movie Review: Observe and Report

Friday was Ricky's birthday and, being the birthday boy, he got to choose the day's activities. We had a nice dinner out and went to a movie. Now, we haven't seen a movie in the theater in...several years. His work schedule is so crazy that we don't have much of an opportunity to go. But he took Friday off, so we went out to a show. And I almost dropped dead at the FORTY DOLLARS we spent for the movie and some snacks!

Anyway, his choice of movie was Observe and Report, the lastest Seth Rogen offering. I thought this movie would be the typical screwball comedy that one expects from Seth Rogen. I was fine with that; I was kind of in the mood for something silly, and I've always loved Rogen, since his days on the cancelled-too-soon Freaks and Geeks.

What I got was something quite different. Observe and Report is NOT just a screwball comedy. Granted, parts of it did make me laugh hysterically. But the parts of it that are comedy are very DARK comedy. Halfway through, I realized that it was more of a comment on the mentally ill and their place in our society than anything else.

It reminded me of some of my clients. It made me sad that, at least where I practice law, there isn't really a place for the mentally ill in the criminal justice system. Things are too black and white: if someone is competent to proceed, and if they were sane at the time of the offense, they are treated just like any other criminal defendant in the system, even if that's not the most appropriate way to handle their case. This movie did a very good job of pointing out the difficulties of life for those facing mental illness: the difficulties of obtaining (and maintaining) employment, the difficulties of engaging in romantic relationships, the difficulties of simply making it through the day, when you aren't exactly sure what is real and what is in your imagination.

I didn't really like Seth Rogen's character. But I empathized with him and with his plight. He was at times quite violent, but the director did a good job of pointing out that it was his mental illness that caused the violence, along with a failure to understand his place in the world.

I went in for a comedy and got so much more. Go see this movie. It was so much better than I expected it to be. It said so much more than I thought it could. I feel like I'm repeating myself a bit here, but, seriously, see it.


Staci said...

I'm sure that I will rent this on DVD when it comes out. I liked your insightful thoughts on this!

Lexi said...

It was good. Not good enough to spend that much money on it, but then again, it was Ricky's birthday, and it made him happy, so...worth it.