By Whitney Pastorek
Updated January 14, 2009 at 05:00 PM EST
Observe and Report:Peter Sorel; Paul Blart: Richard Cartwright

There’s a fascinating sort of hive mind that exists in Hollywood, which is essentially a giant monkeys-at-typewriters statistical exercise that sometimes spits out two nearly identical projects at the same time. But while I can understand the existence of two asteroid movies (1998’s Deep Impact and Armageddon), two Truman Capote movies (2005’s Capote and 2006’s Infamous), and even the ongoing Chinese Democracy-style journey of the two rumored Janis Joplin biopics to the screen, I find it amazing in a totally enjoyable way that for 2009, the greatest entertainment minds of our generation have dreamed and toiled and employed all of their considerable talents to generate…two mall-cop movies?

It was just announced that Observe and Report, the newest from funny Foot Fist Way writer/director Jody Hill, will premiere at the SXSW Film Fest this March. Starring Seth Rogen as “a deluded, self-important head of mall security who squares off in a turf war against the local cops,” the film is a dark comedy, which is the most obvious way in which it will differ from this weekend’s Paul Blart: Mall Cop, the ultra-broad Kevin James vehicle directed by Steve Carr. (Funny story: Steve Carr used to do album art for Def Jam in the ’90s, which means the same dude who directed Daddy Day Care also designed the cover for, like, Public Enemy’s Fear of a Black Planet.)

How to explain, PopWatchers? What’s so zeitgeisty about mall cops? Which one of these films are you more excited to see? And can you think of other memorable two-fers in movie history?

addCredit(“Observe and Report:Peter Sorel; Paul Blart: Richard Cartwright”)