Ronnie Barnhardt (Seth Rogen) is the bipolar mall cop who roams the craptacular Forest Ridge Mall like a doughy Marshal Will Kane, his tin star fashioned out of tinfoil. "I believe every man has a path laid out before him," he mutters in a deranged deadpan drone. "My path is a righteous one. I've been chosen to be the protector." Just in time, the gods deliver him the villain every hero needs: a parking-lot flasher who jerks it in front of Brandi (UW grad and Seattle Rep alum Anna Faris), the dimwitted, mean-spirited salesclerk on whom Ronnie has a stalker's crush. Guys like Ronnie—violent miscreants, power-tripping sociopaths, self-aggrandizing nobodies-next-door—are writer-director Jody Hill's specialty. Problem is, you can never tell if Hill (The Foot Fist Way) likes or loathes his creations; he seems to always be off to the side somewhere, tittering at their misfortune and sneering at how such tiny, insignificant, emasculated men attempt to take up so much space. A line in the film serves as its perfect summation: "I thought it was gonna be funny, but it's just sad."
Faris deserves better.
Opens at Metro and other theaters, Fri., April 10. Rated R. 85 minutes.