I Saw A Film Today… The Watch

Ben Stiller is a hit-and-miss actor, and in recent years it has been more misses then hits. Much like Jim Carrey and Eddie Murphy, he just hasn’t found a way of being comically relevant in the changing era of comedy. The same goes for Vince Vaughn as well, for the most part. Both have had few successes since starring opposite each other in the brilliant comedy, Dodgeball. Does the duo make a career redemption in The Watch with the assistance of Jonah Hill and new-comer Richard Ayoade? Unfortunately, no.

Evan Trautwig is the manager at the local Glenview, Ohio Costco and member of multiple neighborhood clubs, which for whatever reason doesn’t seem like much of a stretch for Stiller. But when a night watchman at the superstore is graphically murder and skinned while on duty, Evan decides to make it his mission to bring the deceased man justice by forming a neighborhood watch and catching his killer.

Few in the community share the passion that Evan does and the ragtag group of hombres he gets together is composed of a middle-aged frat boy appropriately named Bob (Vaughn), a mentally unstable police reject named Franklin (Hill), and a recently divorced Englishman named Jemarcus (Ayoade). What starts off as a relatively tame and nightly adventure quickly elevates to a new level when the boys discover an alien.

Things only get worse for them when they learn that there are more aliens and they are planning an invasion using Costco as their ground zero. Why they chose Glenview, Ohio is a question on the intelligence of this race of extraterrestrials. Anyways, the juvenile men somehow instantly become experts at weapons and try saving the world from aliens.

This film really has no other purpose than to just share juvenile and weak R-Rated humor. There really is not a lot of care put into the story. In fact, most of the scenes are just a set-up for some burnt out, semi-humorous exchanges between the actors. There really isn’t much structure either. The plot just kind of floats between scenes, as if director and Lonely Island alum Akiva Schaffer said on set “um… I guess we can have the characters go to an orgy or something. That would be funny, right?”

Surprisingly, the most impressive part of this film is how great the aliens look. They look like they just stepped off the set of District 9 or some other summer blockbuster involving aliens. But here again the film finds a way of ruining even this. The only way of defeating these extraterrestrials are by shooting them right in the bing-bong and chickadees. As if by some miracle these different life forms from a different world have the same reproductive organs and are also coincidentally located in the same place. Think I may have just put a spoiler here. All well, didn’t really spoil much now did I?

The performances are pretty lackluster here. Newcomer Richard Ayoade is the most interesting of the lot. His distinctively English dry humor is a great contrast to the over-the-top performances of his counterparts. Ben Stiller is okay in this role, but anything beyond calling it mediocre gives him too much credit. Vaughn is actually really good in my opinion. His performance here has a certain flowing naturalness to it which reminded me of why I liked him in Dodgeball. Jonah Hill is also good, although most certainly not at his best.

The Watch is in some ways like a Happy Madison film. This film is obviously a step above the rubbish that is put out by Adam Sandler’s production company but really its only purpose is to get a few friends together, make a few jokes, and nab a paycheck in the process.

Verdict: SKIP IT!

*Rated R for some strong sexual content including references, pervasive language, and violent images.

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