The concept of ‘twin films’ is something that happens more often than you think, regardless of how specific the premises of the competing projects may be. We saw a pair of cataclysmic natural disasters in Volcano and Dante’s Peak, two Die Hard ripoffs set in the White House with Olympus Has Fallen and White House Down, while Andy Serkis’ Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle was delayed by two years to give it some distance from Jon Favreau’s Jungle Book.
However, one of the most notably coincidental examples came in 2009, when we were given the gift of two distinctly different movies revolving around mall security. Kevin James’ Paul Blart: Mall Cop was as broad as you’d expect from a Happy Madison production, and it went on to net $183 million at the box office for good measure.
Meanwhile, Seth Rogen‘s Observe and Report was a darker, more depraved and arguably vastly superior comedy, albeit one that could only muster $27 million from theaters. Rogen’s Ronnie Barnhardt is the head of security at Forest Ridge’s shopping center, and he takes his job very seriously.
Seeking to join the police academy and impress Anna Faris’ Brandi, Ronnie looks to dispense his own unique method of justice to apprehend a flasher. Naturally, things spiral out of control when the vigilantism takes over, with Observe and Report regularly walking down a surprisingly vicious and cynical path. It’s not your typical Seth Rogen comedy by any means, but it’s now back on Netflix if you want to check it out.