The Watch – Review
September 3, 2012 Leave a comment
Review by FilmFellaLozz – 5.5/10
The Watch follows Ben Stiller’s band of suburban miscreants as they form a neighbourhood watch group to catch a killer, when the local constabulary can’t be assed to do anything about it. None of them could foresee that the killer might not be a human, but instead may well be an alien from outer space intent on ravaging the human race! That’s the plot; and a weak one to say the least. However, if there was enough humour in there or sufficient number gags to carry the meager premise, then The Watch may be worth a watch. There wasn’t.
Alongside Stiller is, of course, the wacky giant for hire, Vince Vaughan and the once fat, but not fat anymore, Jonah Hill looking surprisingly lean. And after Chris O’Dowd’s Hollywood success in Bridesmaids, his former colleague of The IT Crowd, Richard Ayoade takes up the remaining position in the team. Round all of those funny guys up, plonk them in front of a camera and have Akiva Schaeffer (one part of the trio known as A Lonely Island) tell them what to do should have resulted in a something that was ridiculously hilarious. But it really wasn’t. So it must’ve been the script that let it down, right. And then Seth Rogan and Evan Goldberg’s names pop up with writing credits. These guys wrote Superbad, which was genuinely funny. I just can’t understand what went wrong here.
Ben Stiller is Evan, the nightmare of a suburbanite who is on the committee for this, that and the other. Basically he’s the same old Ben Stiller that we saw in Along Came Polly, Meet the Parents (plus all of the sequels), Night at the Museum etc. The guy that plays by the rules, the straight guy, that boring annoying guy. You know what I’m talking about. I’m not a campaigner for hate crime against Ben Stiller or anything, just to confirm. I thought he was great in Zoolander and Dodgeball, but he keeps going back to these tedious, no dimensional characters, that I’ve now grown tired of. Then Vaughan (Bob) isn’t much better. Well, he’s not better at all. He’s the exact same character in everything he’s in; it’s just a change of name and wardrobe. So, when you have the two main comedy actors proving to be rather irritating, something’s gone wrong.
The funny bits are few and far between; however, thanks to some great comedy timing from Hill’s Franklin and Ayoade’s Jamarcus, there are a few comedic moments that don’t fall flat, such as when they gatecrash a teenage house party or happen upon a neighbourhood brothel. But unfortunately, the threadbare plot(s) comes back into play and (ruins) the film.
We have the main narrative concerned with the alien invasion. Got it. But then not one but two subplots sneak their way in. One involving Evan not being able to have children and refusing to tell his wife; and the other that circulates around Bob’s daddy issues with his daughter. Neither have anything to do with anything else in the movie and when the rest of the film isn’t that fun, a subtle serious side isn’t needed at all. It just feels like filler for what culminates in a poor, unfunny film, that’s frustrating because it shouldn’t be.
The alien doesn’t look bad. I’ve seen far worse. Aesthetically though, it didn’t fit into this type of comedy. I actually think the movie would’ve benefitted from a sillier, more cutesy design. Cut out the swearing, make the alien look less angry, and maybe a family friendly movie would’ve surfaced. Something like Evolution, for example.
This movie is a real shame, as it didn’t achieve anything it set out to do. It’s not so dire that I would tell everybody to steer clear of it, and I’ve said, there were one or two moments of pure comedy. There were people laughing all around me, so maybe my expectations were too high. However, with all of the (comedy) components involved here, I don’t think my disappointment is invalid.