Everyone once and while, Hollywood seems to give us two movies with similar stories that end up getting released in the same year. In 2006, we got two period pieces about magicians, The Illusionist and The Prestige. In 2013, audiences got two movies about terrorists attacking the White House, White House Down and Olympus Has Fallen. Inevitably, one of these movies is always better and more successful than the other. One often goes overlooked and ends up falling through the cracks. In this case, it was Observe and Report, a hysterical dark comedy that lost out to a lighter, family-friendly movie that was also about mall cops.

Why Observe and Report Went Unloved…

Observe and Report was released in cinemas in April 2009, just four months after Paul Blart: Mall Cop, which was released in January 2009. I actually saw Paul Blart: Mall Cop in the cinemas and skipped out on Observe and Report because of the marketing. For many people including myself, Observe and Report looked very similar to Paul Blart: Mall Cop and boy were we wrong. These two movies couldn’t be more different from one another.

Paul Blart: Mall Cop was a very successful movie. It was shot for $26 million and went onto make $183 million at the box office, including the spawning of a sequel. On the other hand, Observe and Report took in approximately $26 million on an $18 million budget. Therefore, Observe and Report did not make its money back and was not considered a success, despite the fact that I find it to be the much better movie.

Why Observe and Report Is A Solid Dark Comedy…

Like usual, critics and audiences definitely don’t agree with me. Observe and Report currently holds a 51% critics score and a far too low 37% from audiences on Rotten Tomatoes. This means that Observe and Report was met with negative reviews along with not being successful. I personally find that shocking since Observe and Report’s humour might be for everyone but it’s a very funny movie that you should definitely see and/or give a second chance.

The biggest misconception to clear up about Observe and Report is that this movie is in no way family-friendly and has next to nothing similar with Paul Blart: Mall Cop. That movie is silly, slapstick and light-hearted. Rather, Observe and Report is a dark, twisted, somewhat disturbing movie about a power hungry mall cop riddled with mental health issues. It also has a dark romance element and is a revenge film. If you like movies such as Bad Santa or the 1980’s classic Heathers, then I highly recommend you see Observe and Report. If you don’t like dark humour, cynicism and disturbing tones, then this movie won’t be for you.

In the end, Observe and Report is BLACK COMEDY at its best. While it might not be as good as Heathers or Bad Santa it CERTAINLY IS NOT a bad movie and SHOULD NOT have received terrible reviews for what it was. I’m sure the bad reviews were made because of the comparisons to Paul Blart: Mall Cop and it’s undeserving.

Look out for Aziz Ansari and Jesse Plemons in small roles.