The Watch

After a 3rd shift security guard gets murdered, the manager of the store (Ben Stiller) he worked at decides to start a neighborhood watch. He attracts a ragtag crew of volunteers to join him, including a family man looking for some “Me Time” (Vince Vaughn), a psycho cop wanna-be (Jonah Hill) and a newcomer to the area who’s hoping to meet some ladies (Richard Ayoade). They set out to find the killer, but what they find is much, much worse.

Their town has been invaded by aliens.

It’s a premise with promise, but the material fails to deliver much. Worse yet, the stars, who are going to be the reason that most people show up for this, completely fail to show up.

Evan Trautwig (Ben Stiller) is the manager of a local Costco, and an over-involved community member. He’s started a number of clubs, gets involved volunteering his time with community service, and sits on the town council, albeit in a ludicrously unimportant position. When his overnight security guard is killed and skinned while on the job, and the cops who respond are obviously inept, he’s motivated to start a volunteer neighborhood watch program in order to try to find the killer. Volunteer turnout is low however, and to say that he didn’t exactly attract top-tier talent would be an understatement. Bob (Vince Vaughn) is a married man with a teen daughter who obviously doesn’t have enough time to himself. He’s hoping to get a few nights a week to drink some beers and hang out with the guys out of the deal. Franklin (Jonah Hill) couldn’t make it as a cop, and now is looking for an outlet for his hostility. Jamarcus (Richard Ayoade) is new to the neighborhood and is looking to meet some people, mainly of the female persuasion.

Their first foray is a stakeout of the Costco where the murder happened, which turns into an excuse to drink beer in the car. They do soon bust up a gang of kids throwing eggs… at them. But when their car accidentally hits an alien, they become the only people who are aware their town’s been invaded, and thus the only people capable of stopping the invasion.

There’s potential in the material, here, but it’s nowhere close to being realized. Instead of focusing on the comedy that could surround coming into contact with Aliens, the movie seems to focus instead on the comedy coming from the characters… Stiller’s anal retentive schtick, Vaughn’s rapid talking smarmy persona, Hill’s new “tough guy”, and Ayoade… who I honestly still kind of don’t know what he was supposed to be bringing to the table. There are a couple of scenes that do focus on the discovery of the aliens, and that IS where the movie has its high points. The scene where the discover the laser weapon is very funny (although its been shown in nearly its entirety in the trailers), as is the scene where they pose the dead alien for pictures. Unfortunately “The Watch” spends most of its time trying to be funny by showing these characters interacting with each other.

Which wouldn’t have been that huge an issue, in spite of the fact that Vaughn and Stiller are playing characters they’ve played 100 times each. In “The Watch”, however, it’s as if Vaughn and Stiller decided to test the maxim “they could do that in their sleep” by actually playing these characters in their sleep. Auto-pilot is an understatement. If these two were any more inert in their performances, they’d be wax statues. Neither one of them seems to have a second of honest fun playing these parts, and it shows. They come across as disinterested and begrudging, we’re given a complete and utter minimal effort from both of them.

Will Forte is genuinely funny as the cop who couldn’t care less, and even though I don’t get him, I think Ayoade was trying at least. There are also a couple of legitimately funny scenes and or/moments sparsely scattered about. The rest of the time, however, “The Watch” treats us to a concept that doesn’t reach its potential, starring actors who don’t give it their all.

C-

32 thoughts on “The Watch

  1. Sounds just as bad as I imagined. They oughta be paying YOU to watch this stuff, Fogs. I hope you see something enjoyable to offset this and Step Up Revolution. :D

  2. I guess the maxim about usually only one really funny movie each year is true and Ted was it! Fogs takes one for the team, (slap on back!)

    • Lol, thanks man.

      I hope we’re not out of good comedies for the year, but unfortunately, that might be true.

      It wasn’t the most painful movie ever or anything, but it sure ain’t recommendable..,

  3. Don’t plan on seeing this just from the previews. The so called jokes were unfunny and I thought the exploding bovine was abominable.

    • They’re close… I mean, I would go with this one, because Vaughn, Stiller and Hill are at least shells of themselves and that outweighs anything Step Up offered for me, but… I wouldnt debate that too much. I can see it.

  4. Am the only one who think the stole this entire movie from last years underrated film Attack the Block? That movie was good and I feel this one would just be a huge mess. I will wait for Netflix.

    • Well… :) I know that you havent seen this, so let me say – high concept wise? Yes. Similarities. Sure.

      Quality wise? LOL. Watch Attack the Block again and skip this. They may have cribbed the idea, that is possible… but let me tell you Mike, this one cant even come close to touching that one! :D

  5. Have they tried turning it off and on again?

    I’m disappointed, but not surprised, that this isn’t fantastic. I absolutely love Richard Ayoade in I.T. Crowd, and the episode of Community he directed (The “Pulp Fiction” one, I believe) is among my favourites. I was rooting for him. He felt tacked on in the trailer, and it sounds like he stayed that way.

    Glad I didn’t bother. I don’t know if I could take another disappointment. I was in quite a slump. Had to watch Dazed and T2 over the weekend to try and break it up a bit. I don’t think I’ve done that exact double feature since the 90s.

    • Thats a hell of a double feature though. I approve highly! LOL

      Yeah, I dont know, they just didnt give him much to do here. Unlike, say, Vaughn, who clearly had this written for him, but then mailed it in.

      Take it from me, this movie isnt going to be anyone’s “slump breaker” :(

  6. Well Dan, I think I have come to the conclusion that when it comes to comedies, you and I just don’t agree. I found this movie to be very funny. Matter of fact, I had to stop myself from laughing out loud in the theater. I see you point in a couple of you statements especially where the movie focuses on the actors and not so much on the plot for the comedy bits but I believe it works here. I wouldn’t give this one an extremely high grade but I found the movie to flow when and it definitely had its funny bits. B- to B is what I would give it.

    • LOL. I was wondering what you’d think, seeing as I dropped my grade since the credits rolled.

      I think you’re right – you’re way more forgiving to comedies than I am. You liked “Hall Pass”, and that movie was gawd awful. Lol

    • Ehhhhhhhhhh…

      You know where I’d say its a worthy check out Ruth? When its on cable. Like if you catch it on HBO or something… then its not going to be too terrible. Other than that I’d pass. :(

      Sad to report.

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