Also Hated ‘My Super-Ex Girlfriend’ & Was Glad It Bombed
While critics and audiences pretty much agreed that Jody Hill‘s “Observe and Report” was an unfunny misfire, perhaps the lasting “legacy” of the movie was the very uncomfortable sex scene between Ronnie (Seth Rogen) and Brandi (Anna Faris). If you haven’t seen the film, the sequence finds Ronnie, a security guard at a mall taking Brandi, a salesgirl out on a date. After more than a few drinks, shots and even a handful of pills, Brandi and Ronnie return to his place and she is very clearly sick and intoxicated, vomiting before they even get in the door. Cut to the bedroom where Ronnie is having sex with Brandi, pausing when he notices she’s passed out — followed quickly by the punchline, with Brandi saying: “Why are you stopping, motherfucker?” (you can watch the scene here). It’s a pretty divisive moment in an already fairly black comedy and at the time, some likened the scene to date rape, with others defending the sequence in the name of comedy or weakly offering that Brandi gave her consent.
But the scene still dogs Faris to some degree and in a recent profile in the New Yorker the actress reveals that had circumstances been slightly different she probably would never have done the scene at all. “I probably wouldn’t have done it then if ‘The House Bunny‘ had been out,” Faris said to the magazine. “That movie put a different stamp on my career — it made me think about how my fans want to see me.”
Of course, she’s referring to the 2008 film that — outside of the “Scary Movie” franchise which were sold on concept not on the actress — was the first indication that Faris was a bankable leading comedy actress (it brought in $70 million worldwide on a $25 million budget). But as Faris continues to build herself into the one of top leading women in the industry — she acknowledges Reese Witherspoon, Cameron Diaz, Natalie Portman, Kate Hudson, Katherine Heigl and Anne Hathaway as her competitors and the talent likely to get a script before she does — that couple of minutes continues to be one that comedy fans may like but that those within the industry might have preferred she didn’t do.
“I’ve worked since I was sixteen, I’ve raised two daughters, I believe women can do everything, including expressing their sexuality in a raunchy way — and something in me says ‘Ooh, that’s yucky,'” Stacey Snider, the co-chairman, CEO and partner of DreamWorks told reporter Tad Friend. Meanwhile Mark Mylod — who directs Faris in the upcoming R-rated comedy “What’s Your Number?” — decided not watch the scene. “Part of my job was to fall in love with Ally Darling [Faris’ character in his film], and I didn’t want that kind of image in my head as I prepared,” he said.
“I guarantee you that when they tested ‘Observe and Report’ people were horrified by that scene,” “Anchorman” and “The Other Guys” director Adam McKay said to the magazine.
But if the sequence in “Observe and Report” was one that causes mixed feelings for the actress she has no qualms in not holding back her opinion about Ivan Reitman‘s egregious “My Super Ex-Girlfriend.” In the film, she plays the love interest of Luke Wilson who instead chases Uma Thurman with dire consequences. “I hated being on that movie so much I was glad when it bombed,” Faris said to Friend. “These roles are destroying a generation of boys, who think we’ll forgive any kind of assholey behavior.”
Every actor has a couple of scenes or movies that looked better on paper than they did in the final edit and you can call it growing pains from an actress carving out her place in Hollywood. And with executive producer tags on both “The House Bunny” and “What’s Your Number?” she’s definitely beginning to sit in the driver’s seat and determine just how her parts will be shaped in films to come. We’ll see the results when “What’s Your Number” opens on September 30th.