Dave's Rating:


Wrong to laugh. And yet...

Who's In It: Seth Rogen, Anna Faris, Michael Pena, Celia Weston, Ray Liotta

The Basics: A bipolar mall cop decides that, in order to win the heart of the mean, stupid, cosmetics counter girl he stalker-loves, he will stop taking his stabliizing medication and go rogue in order to catch a trenchcoat-wearing flasher who's been terrorizing female shoppers. Unlike that other mall cop movie, he doesn't have a character-emasculating Segway to move around on. He just has a gun fetish and secretly honed ass-kicking skills. In other words, this isn't another family movie about an adorably chubby guy underdog who saves the day. It's about a creep with terrifying accuracy on the firing range.

What's the Deal: A movie like this dares to straddle the line between extreme discomfort and bleakly un-cute comedy. There isn't a single likable character to be found unless you find doting-yet-constantly-blotto alcoholic mothers sweet. Everyone else is scary, unbalanced, mentally ill, slow, vicious, cruel and demented. It refuses to compromise and, instead, punches you repeatedly in the face and asks, "Isn't this hilarious?" In other words, it's the best comedy of the year so far because it demands that you forget your ideas about when it's okay to laugh.

Tired of Rogen Already? Yeah, me too. But you haven't seen him like this yet. In fact, in every other movie it seems like he's just playing what you'd be forgiven for believing is simply a heightened, somewhat more stoned version of himself. But here he's a character you simply don't want to be bros with on any level, a deadpan, dead-eyed, pitiable danger to himself and others. Suddenly it's like he's acting.

MVP: Veteran character actor Celia Weston as the perpetually falling-down drunk mother. Because in spite of what I just wrote, she is oddly human and sweet here, even when passed out and drooling.

From Jody Hill, the Creator Of This Other Somewhat Off-Putting Comedy You Probably Haven't Seen Yet: It came out last year, it was called The Foot-Fist Way and it starred Danny McBride from Tropic Thunder as a martial arts instructor whose life is falling apart because he's a completely reprehensible jerk. They're also the folks involved in the new HBO comedy series Eastbound and Down about an ex-baseball player whose life is falling apart because he's a reprehensible jerk. You should totally be watching both of these things, by the way. They're horribly funny in the most horrible way.


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