Review: The Watch

Directed by: Akiva Schaffer.

Starring: Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, Jonah Hill, Richard Ayoade, Rosemarie DeWitt.

Rating:   Running Time: 102 mins.

Evan (Ben Stiller) has the perfect suburban life, living in a small American town with his wife Abby (Rosemarie DeWitt). After finishing his shift as manager of the local Costco for the night, he leaves the place under the care of a security guard, he returns to work the next morning to find the Costco the crime scene and the security guard dead, with his skin having been removed. Horrified at the ineptitude of the local police force, Evan announces at the town’s football game that night, that he is putting together a neighbourhood watch and asks for volunteers.

The only ones to apply to the watch are Bob (Vince Vaughn) – a father who sees the Watch as an opportunity to join a guys club to hang around and get drunk, Franklin (Jonah Hill) – a college drop out who failed the police intelligence, physical and mental health entry requirement tests, and Jamarcus (Richard Ayoade) – a recent divorcee who wants to get involved with the neighbourhood more. The Watch begins going on patrols watching out for the killer of the security guard when, while driving after having a few drinks, Evan runs over something that leaves a green liquid on his car. The group also find a strange round item that they soon find out it’s purpose.

From the trailer, the movie looks to be an interesting take on the suburbia invasion story, with Stiller and Vaughn on board it really should be. Unfortunately, it’s not. There are moments of humour in the movie, but like most recent comedies this one feels the need to resort to the well that is the bodily fluids and gross out humour. It’s a shame, as there is a nice idea here, and there’s certainly signs of an intention to make a good movie out of it. The movie it most reminds me of is Robert Rodriguez‘ 1998 horror/thriller The Faculty, and it has a similar idea, just the decision to focus on weak comedy moments is a weakness instead of being a strength.

The movie is also let down by some extremely weak and predictable writing, there are red herrings and there are twists but they are so obvious early on that most audiences will have already figured them out well into the movie’s first fourty-five minutes. I personally had figured out one big twist in particular very early on, and when it was revealed in the movie, it felt so out of place as though it was obvious, there was no explanation as to why it occurred. There’s also some incredibly badly written characters, with a focus on the stereotypical, especially when it comes to dumb law enforcement officers, and moments with characters making the most monumentally moronic decisions that they are almost right out of a brainless slasher movie, and despite this, for the majority of the time said characters manage to walk away unscathed, whilst cannon fodder background characters get a one scene introduction before being killed off to prove that there is a threat.

Though it’s intended as a comedy I did not laugh out loud at any of the jokes, the most it could get from me was a giggle at a couple of moments, all of which if memory serves were shown in the movie’s trailer. It’s not the weakest comedy of the year, but it’s amongst the weakest of Stiller, Vaughn or Hill’s repertoire and given the people involved and the level of production, should have been so much more. Only worth it if you’re really set on seeing it, otherwise wait for the DVD.

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Posted on August 27, 2012, in Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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