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SXSW 2009: “Observe and Report.”

SXSW 2009: “Observe and Report.” (photo)

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Jody Hill’s “Observe and Report” is like a Will Ferrell movie that’s been run over by a car again and again until it’s warped and unrecognizable. It’s still has the rough shape of a feel-good story about a lovable loser, a mall security guard who longs to be a real policeman and who’s in love with the bitchy make-up counter girl while failing to see that the sweet coffee stand cashier genuinely cares about him. And it manages to hit every expected point in that scenario, including the triumphant nabbing of a flasher who’s been terrorizing the shopping complex, without being in the least bit feel-good — a testament to Hill, whose willingness to take his laughs darker than anyone would expect and than some will be able to tolerate gave his 2006 debut “The Foot Fist Way” an immediate cult following.

Ronnie Barnhardt (Seth Rogen) isn’t just an oddball with a dead-end job, he’s manic, bellicose and on meds, which he ill-advisedly stops taking as things start to go his way. His mother, who he lives with, is a raging alcoholic; his coworker and best friend (Michael Peña) enables the only heroin gag you may ever see in a studio movie; the object of his lust, Brandi (Anna Faris), with her frosted hair and frosted lips, gets so completely wasted on daiquiris during her unwilling dinner with Ronnie that by the end of the night she’s spitting up pink goo. The movie’s got plenty of comedic highlights, along with appearances from Danny McBride (for whom “The Foot Fist Way” provided a comic breakout) and Patton Oswalt as an abusive Cinnabon manager, but Rogen and Faris together are on their own plane. Her delusional egotism and his delusional aggrandizement combine in a brilliant sequence in which they go on a date and she convinces him to give her his prescription pills, which, chased down with multiple tequila shots, ends with brief, disturbing and hilarious sex scene I won’t mar with more detailed description.

For Hill, though, the apex of funniness is still unwarranted and unexpectedly brutal violence, and “Observe and Report”‘s beat-downs range from the thrashing of a group of skateboarders to a fairly gruesome shooting. It starts to seem a strange thing to laugh at about halfway through, even if the roughness always has no more consequence than a Looney Tunes cartoon. Acquired taste that it may be, it’s a welcome change of pace from the gooey-centered work of team Apatow — there’s something to be said for being mean.

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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