posted on July 27, 2012 12:55
Ben Stiller has not had a true hit since 2008’s Tropic Thunder, and that movie was genius. Since then, he has just made crap: Tower Heist, Little Fockers. Vince Vaughn has had a streak of flops dating back to 2007’s Fred Claus. His career is so not-money, and he doesn’t even know it. Then there is Jonah Hill. Coming off the surprise hit, 21 Jump Street earlier this year, he has the hottest career coming into the latest film from SNL director Akiva Schaffer, The Watch. It dropped the word “Neighborhood” from its title after the unfortunate incident in Florida. Joining this trio of “comedians” is British actor and star of the television show The IT Crowd, Richard Ayoade.The Watch opens on Evan (Stiller), who is both physically on screen and giving a voiceover. He narrates how he is a good person who does a lot for his community, has a lot of friends (even ethnic ones), and that he has the best job: General Manager of Costco in an exciting suburb in the great state of….Ohio. As he is closing his store and locking it up for the night, the night security guard Antonio (Joe Nunez) comes on duty and shows Evan how he is now a US citizen. Evan is proud of him, and Antonio is promptly and mysteriosly massacred.
The next morning, Evan arrives to see police tape around his store and meets Sergeant Bressman (Will Forte). Bressman is a nincompoop, and believes it is the communit’s fault that Antonio was killed. There are too many people and not enough police to protect them all. So, at a high school football game, Evan makes a fool of himself by making an announcement at half time that he is starting a neighborhood watch to help keep the suburb safe, and to find Antonio’s killer. The next night, only Bob (Vaughn), Franklin (Hill), and Jamarcus (Ayoade) show up. Now, this band of misfits set out to solve the murder and help other citizens along the way.
The Watch is a humorous take on an alien invasion film that falls into the same pitfalls of every other alien invasion film of late: Super 8, Cowboys & Aliens. The first act of the film is lead by Ben Stiller, and his acting and tone fit the film. When Vaughn enters the film, all hell breaks loose; and not in a good way. He seems unleashed and without a script. He is so over the top that it is just plain dumb. Hill does a decent job as the quiet, yet, dangerous guy. Finally, Ayoade shows up and adds that bit of British humor that the movie so desperately did not need.
Eventually The Watch gets as out-of-control as Vaughn’s character. By that time, I was already disconnected and just waiting for the credits. Somewhere in this mess written by Jared Stern, Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, I am sure there is a decent film. It just got overshadowed by ridiculousness and stupidity. There are too many gaping plot holes and useless storylines for the film to actually work. One quick silver lining: The aliens looked much better than the blurry atrocious ones in the higher budget Cowboys & Aliens. If you feel the need to go to the theater this weekend, might I suggest seeing The Dark Knight Rises. The Watch is just not worth your money. If you must see it, wait for the Redbox.