The Watch (2012) Directed by Akiva Schaffer. Starring: Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn and Jonah Hill. IMDB says: ”Suburban dads who form a neighborhood watch group as a way to get out of their day-to-day family routines find themselves defending the Earth from an alien invasion.”
The Watch provides a premise that should equate to a great comedy movie; an inept neighborhood watch team forms after a murder rocks their sleepy suburb and they soon discover an alien plot to invade their neighborhood / the world at large. Sounds like a winner, but a couple things keep The Watch from being a better comedy than what it could be.
Before I get into what didn’t work for The Watch, let’s talk about what did. The supporting cast did a phenomenal job in this movie and in my opinion did most of the comedic heavy lifting. Vince Vaughn was his normal charmingly vulgar self. A good portion of the fun of the movie comes waiting to see what he’s going to say next. Jonah Hill holds his own in the laugh department as a socially mal-adjusted badass who is always ready to kick an ass or two. I also think viewers will also get a kick out of Richard Ayoade stateside debut performance (you can catch him in British comedies such as The IT Crowd, and The Mighty Boosh.) The Watch is full of small but potent cameos; Billy Crudup, Will Forte, R. Lee Ermey, and the guys of The Lonely Island all make the most of their guest spots. The Watch also had a wonderfully varied soundtrack with emphasis on Rap and R&B from the 90′s. The music juxtaposed with the luxury of the suburban scenes made for a couple laughs.
Now for what didn’t work. A surefire way to murder the viewing experience of any movie is to give it all away in the trailer, and The Watch is guilty as charged. It isn’t so much that the trailer gives away plot points, the story itself is pretty straight forward. The Watch commits the worst crime by giving away the best (if not all) of its big laughs. The Watch is rated R, so of course you can’t get away with showing more of the risqué bits of humor, but the trailer shows a bulk of the jokes’ progression and punch lines. As a movie-goer you see this trailer pack full of laughs and say to yourself “hey this looks promising”, only to get into the theater and think to yourself “okay that joke was in the trailer, show me something else,” then finding that there is nothing else. It’s an okey doke movie makers are hitting us with and I’m getting tired of it *shakes fist then steps off soapbox*.
The second thing that didn’t work for me in The Watch was its leading man, Ben Stiller. In the film Stiller plays his tired…um I meant tried and true routine as the straight-laced everyman he plays in most of his movies. The problem here is that he has so many dynamic and funny characters around him and instead of being a straight man that the other guys bounce off of, he’s bringing them down; Stiller isn’t pulling his comedic weight in the film. If The Watch was a solar system, Ben Stiller would be a dying sun with exciting, diverse, vibrant planets orbiting around it.
All in all, I would say The Watch is a slightly entertaining movie, it’s the newest entry in movies that combined the sci-fi and comedy genres (much like Paul and Attack The Block) but it really doesn’t deliver on the laughs. Wait for this guy to hit Red box.
FTS SCORE: 56%
The Watchis in theaters now.