Trisha’s Link of the Day: Observe and Report’s rape controversy

observe-reportAnyone who knows me knows that I’m not a prude when it comes to sex in films. However, apparently there’s a scene in Seth Rogen’s newest film Observe and Report and which is featured at the end of the red-band trailer that makes even me a little bit squeamish.

Jezebel.com explains one reaction to the scene the best (and most sarcastically) here:

[Seth] Rogen explains that everyone in the theater then lets out a good long chuckle. See, even though she’s probably blacked out and has no idea what she’s saying, it isn’t rape. (And Brandi’s kind of a dumb slut anyway.)

Now, I know I probably should have commented on this when we posted the trailer last month. To be honest, though, Report‘s not my kind of movie, I normally wouldn’t be seeing it anyway, and I’m definitely not going to see it now.

However, the part that troubles me the most is that casting a scene like this as comedy pushes society’s views on rape further backwards—and it’s even worse when it’s prettied up for drama.

Take a look at this article from The Curvature, and think about the early scenes in The Reader, wherein we are told and shown that a sexual relationship between a 36-year old woman and a 15-year old boy is a good thing.

I really wish filmmakers would really just think a little bit more about what impact they have on the world, don’t you?

UPDATE at 1:59 EST: I’ve been challenged to see this movie to see the scene in context, and I’m going to try and be as objective as I can. Will report back next week.

Related Posts: Trailer Watch: Red band Observe and Report trailer

Posted on April 16, 2009 at 05:54 by Trisha Lynn · Permalink
In: Around the Intertubes · Tagged with: , , ,

10 Responses

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  1. Written by Matt
    on April 16, 2009 at 09:27
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    I’m not sure whether or not that’s rape. I wouldn’t do it since she’s suppossed to be heavily intoxicated.

    However, comedy is there to poke fun at everything, it doesn’t matter what.

  2. Written by transient
    on April 16, 2009 at 10:59
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    On the line? Yeah. Over it? From the context I got from the trailer, I don’t think so.

    Strikes me as dumb, drunken, and concensual, sex more than rape. Simply by the fact that she comments lucidly. She ‘looks’ unconcious, but her statement is clear and timed appropriately. If she were truly in a blackout state, it’s unlikely either of those things would’ve been the case.

    But like most all films, it’s scripted and directed, probably so they can ride that line, but avoid crossing that line. Whereas if it were ‘documentary’ it likely would be rape.

    As for filmmaker’s impact, that deserves a thread of it’s own. And you’d hear me talk more about parental responsibility than filmmaker if it had one ;)

  3. Written by erin
    on April 16, 2009 at 14:40
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    Honestly, when I saw the film, I didn’t even think for a moment that it qualified as rape. When the scene first came up, the entire theater had a collective “ohhhh” (in a bad way) moment, however that factor was excellently combatted by the impeccable timing of Brandi’s line. (I give kudos to the filmmakers and actors for the staging, content aside.) Really, Observe and Report is horrendously un-PC in so many other ways that to pick on this one scene in particular I find unfair.

    And besides: the lead character is a racist, sexist, obnoxious, ignorant character who can’t achieve anything more than being a mall cop. He’s not exactly role model material, and it’s hardly likely anyone’s going to give the reason “I saw it in Observe and Report” as justification for something.

  4. Written by Jonas
    on April 16, 2009 at 14:58
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    I’m not one to call out for a censor, but that scene will have kids/young adults thinking it is cool to date-rape girls. Some good parenting would make viewing the scene inconsequential, but most parents don’t get involved with what their children are seeing.

    Sooner or later I’m going to randomly hear someone say “dude i f****d here like in that scene from Observe and Report!”

  5. Written by Gordon McAlpin
    on April 16, 2009 at 15:27
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    I agree with everything erin said.

  6. Written by connor
    on April 16, 2009 at 18:57
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    Jonas: “I’m not one to call out for a censor, but that scene will have kids/young adults thinking it is cool to date-rape girls.”

    Are you serious?

  7. Written by Jeff
    on April 17, 2009 at 09:04
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    I really think if people see this movie, while they may laugh…it isn’t strictly a comedy. The scene isn’t funny really, it’s dark, desperate and sad. In no way does it glorify rape. It makes it seem like something desperate. Especially since Rogans character doesn’t really perceive it as rape, he loves her.

  8. Written by Gordon McAlpin
    on April 17, 2009 at 10:10
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    More importantly, Brandi doesn’t seem to perceive it as rape, for whatever reason. In the following scenes, she’s not significantly any more disgusted by him than she was before their “date.”

    I think a lot of what people take offense to isn’t the movie itself (because the Jezebel writer hadn’t seen it, and one of the blog posts she linked to hadn’t even seen the trailer when she first posted it) is the idea that a “date rape” would be in a “comedy.”

    And yes, that’s appalling. But the Jezebel writer (a.k.a. Margaret) instantly leaps to the conclusion that it’s supposed to be “so hilarious,” which is based on a small-minded idea of what “comedy” is.

  9. Written by Gerald Dudley
    on April 18, 2009 at 23:21
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    When I read an article like this, it just reminds me that there are some people who are dead-set on getting upset about things. It doesn’t matter if it’s comedic or ironic, just the depiction of a usually serious situation as anything other than dramatic or tragic bothers them.

    Amanda Palmer went through some similar criticism for her song “Oasis,” which deals with abortion, but in a tongue-in-cheek and ironic manner.

    Moviegoers have to be treated as smart enough to understand challenging comedy and dark humor, otherwise, filmmakers are just playing to the lowest common denominator, and where does that leave us?

  10. Written by Tylar
    on April 20, 2009 at 23:37
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    ….she tells him to keep going. last time i checked, that’s not rape

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