Rated R for some strong sexual content including references, pervasive language and violent images.
Starring Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, Jonah Hill, Richard Ayoade, Rosemarie DeWitt, Will Forte, Mel Rodriguez, Doug Jones, Erin Moriarty, Nicholas Braun, R. Lee Ermey, Joe Nunez, Liz Cackowski,Johnny Pemberton.
Written by Jared Stern, Seth Rogen, and Evan Goldberg.
Directed by Akiva Schaffer.
Comedy is hard, they say. It would seem that it's getting considerably harder of late, and nothing proves this more than Friday's release of The Watch, starring Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn and Jonah Hill as a group of citizen activists out to keep their small town Ohio neighborhood safe from a murderous predator.
Stiller stars as Evan, the local CostCo manager married to the lovely Abby (Rosemary DeWitt) who becomes outraged after the store's overnight security guard is found dead and mutilated. Evan organizes a neighborhood watch program, but gets only three interested parties to show for the first meeting. Bob (Vaughn) is a father of a rebellious teenage daughter who likes to party himself. Franklin (Hill) is a loner tough guy who failed at getting into the local police force. The fourth member is Jamarcus (Richard Ayoade), a quirky British fellow who's looking for a romantic encounter.
The watch goes slow at first, as the men encounter resistance from local mischievous teens and an inept police officer (Will Forte). They eventually discover that the CostCo murder was committed by an alien from outer space. The men track the alien down, thinking they've killed it, but soon discover there may be more than one, and that an invasion may be coming from inside the CostCo.
My opinion of the The Watch (previously named "Neighborhood Watch" until all that Travon Martin controversy took place) can be summed up with the modifier "un." It's unoriginal, unscripted, unfunny. The lack of originality can be traced to the film's stars (Stiller, Vaughn, Hill) who seem content to play versions of themselves in all their movies these days. It would seem appropriate to list their character names in the credits as "himself."
All their dialogue is everything you've heard before, making their performances in The Watch undistinguished and forgettable. Seriously, when was the last time you saw Stiller play a neurotic perfectionist who has represses himself until he has a temper tantrum, or Vaughn playing a fast-talking party animal, or Hill playing foul-mouthed geek? Oh yeah, every one of their movies from the past decade. The so-called "script" is credited to Seth Rogen, among others, and judging from the raunchy dialogue and story, you can see his fingerprints all over this stinker. Note to Rogen (and his contemporaries): more obscene does not equal more funny.
There are few moments that inspire chuckles in the film, and most of them come from Ayoade, along with a small sampling of CostCo humor. Other that that, The Watch is not worth watching.