Anyone who sees the ads for “Observe and Report,” with a silly-looking Seth Rogen in a mall cop uniform, might mistake the film for either another laid-back “Pineapple Express”-type comedy or, worse, a raunchy “Paul Blart” rip-off. But thanks to the efforts of writer-director Jody Hill (“The Foot Fist Way,” TV’s “Eastbown and Down”) and the go-for-broke performances of leads Rogen as a mall cop hero and Anna Faris (“The House Bunny”) as a trampy cosmetics employee, “Observe” occupies a deeper, filthier place in the R-rated comedy echelon.

In three separate phone interviews, Hill, Rogen and Faris discussed the challenges and thrills of making such an out-of-the-box film, which follows a bipolar mall cop with delusions of grandeur as he attempts to track down a flasher.

“(It felt) like we’d stolen a bunch of movie cameras and film, and somehow they let us make this movie in this mall,” Rogen said, summing up the experience of being able to mount such a bizarre production under the big studio eye of Warner Brothers.

The actor, who admitted to doing almost no mall-cop research for his part, noted that making “Observe” felt more like an independent movie to him than anything he’s ever done.

For Hill, who funded his previous film “Foot Fist” out of his own pocket, this was his first experience making a movie on a budget. He likened landing Rogen and Faris to “an insurance policy” for getting the film made.

Rogen is grateful for the touch that indie directors like Hill bring to mainstream comedies.

“We’re looking for people who are smarter than us, basically,” Rogen said.

Referencing films he co-wrote with writing partner Evan Goldberg, he added, “You know, there’s a reason we don’t direct the movies ourselves.”

“Observe and Report” has many unique influences for a comedy. Hill talked about his desire to write a movie that pushes its main character to the edge of sanity, but that would also work around the symbol of a mall — “because I really hate malls,” he added with a laugh.

His influences were ’70s films by directors like Sam Peckinpah and Martin Scorsese.

“Those movies deal with a lot of themes of isolation and loneliness and characters trying to come up with a code and feeling out a place in their time,” he explained.

Yet “Observe” has unique touches that make the film all its own, such as a drunken sex scene between Rogen and Faris that’s played for squirm-inducing laughs.

“I gave my parents a glass of wine and I showed them that scene and I was like, OK, brace yourself,” laughed Faris, who notes that both her and Rogen were convinced the bit would never make it into the final cut.

With all the blue humor going on, “Observe” is a far cry from the lovable stoner fare Rogen’s fans are used to seeing him. Even though this is a new type of role for the comedian, he admits that he doesn’t have any grandiose career plans for himself.

“I’ve never ended up playing the roles we’ve written for myself in the movies anyways,” Rogen explained. “So that just further adds a monkey wrench into our ‘grand plan,’ of which we don’t have much of in the first place.”

Regardless of Rogen’s ambitions, if there is a grand plan for “Observe,” it seems to be to make the audience laugh out of pure discomfort as much as possible. With every boundary of taste the film pushed in a preview screening on Apr. 1, the packed house howled louder in disbelief. Now that the film is playing in theaters everywhere, it is sure to shock, offend and entertain.

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