Posted on Tuesday, December 16th, 2008 by Hunter Stephenson
One of the 2009 films we’re most anticipating is Observe and Report, due in April, from director Jody Hill (The Foot Fist Way). Yesterday, when Peter posted new stills from the R-rated comedy starring Seth Rogen as an obsessive mall cop, several commenters began negatively comparing O&R with January’s stillborn Kevin James vehicle, Paul Blart: Mall Cop; going so far as to resurrect the Armageddon versus Deep Impact theatrical Turdbowl of 1998. According to an acquaintance unrelated to the production who caught a test screening and swears by it: “That’s a terrible analogy. It’s more like, say, compare Song of the South to Gone With the Wind. I mean, no, I haven’t seen Mall Cop, but, c’mon, it’s the opposite of funny.” Okay, that admittedly wasn’t very helpful.
Meanwhile, during our set visit on HBO’s Eastbound and Down, which Hill co-created and co-directed, the general sentiment was that Observe and Report is a batshit TKO. Actor Ben Best has a small role in the film and, while he couldn’t reveal much, he did let out this funny story about Rogen’s adversary in the film: the man, the legend Mr. Ray Liotta…
“Holy shit, this movie. First off, [Observe and Report] has one of the craziest endings you have ever seen. Listen to this. One day, we’re lining up a shot, and we’re standing on these courthouse steps, Seth is there, and Jody tells us to move down. And Jody says, ‘Hey Ray [Liotta], why don’t you go here.’ And Jody’s literally talking about the next step down, and Ray’s like ‘…Why?’
Seth and I just look at each other, like ‘Uhhh?’ So, Jody thinks for a second, and goes ‘Why not?’ And Ray goes, ‘Well, I just don’t think my character would stand on this step.’ And Jody just goes ‘Fuck It.’ So, after it’s over, Ray says to me, ‘You know what I think about that?’ And he just goes [makes ginormous fart noise---an IRL wet fart]. The smell….it was the most disgusting thing ever. He’s crazy in a good way. [laughs] But yeah, some of the funniest shit I’ve ever seen is in that movie. What you’ve heard from the test screenings, we can go much darker; it’s more like a darker Alexander Payne. It’s one of those great comedies…and the homage to Old Boy is retarded.”
And Patton Oswalt plays the mall’s “Cinnabon Man,” so we might want to store that witty, percolating Dante’s Peak/Volcano scenario until the next inevitable round of Bay/Emmerich. If anyone has a story from the set of Paul Blart: Mall Cop about Kevin James putting his hand in his armpit, do tell below.