Supposedly, a cult comedy is something that just happens, a strange little phenomenon that audiences find on their own and take a shine to. But is it the kind of thing a filmmaker can set out to make? Jody Hill's "Observe and Report" is a cult-comedy hopeful that may as well have been made from an instruction manual: Its rhythms are off-kilter all right, as if they'd been programmed into a drum machine; its characters are treated with condescension and derision -- we're supposed to laugh at them even as we count ourselves lucky that we don't have to be them; and it's set in a shopping-mall universe that's semi-realistic at the beginning and woozily surreal by the end, a place where actions have no consequences and thus no meaning. The whole thing is calibrated to wow us with its weirdness, even as it assumes an air of "Who, me?" guilelessness. I've seen slick, glossy Hollywood thrillers made with less knowing calculation.
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