Review: 'The Watch'
BY MICHAEL SMITH World Scene Writer
Saturday, July 28, 2012
7/28/12 at 3:37 AM
"The Watch" is nearly unwatchable.
When the studio changed the name of this brainless, laughless pile of tripe from "Neighborhood Watch," thinking that no one would laugh at that title after the Trayvon Martin killing, they should have come to this conclusion: No one is going to laugh anyway, so who cares?
I don't know who said "Let's get Ben Stiller and Vince Vaughn together for a science-fiction comedy full of phallic jokes in which they fight off aliens," but those people need to be blasted into outer space.
Outside of the "Men in Black" movies, science-fiction done as comedy almost never works.
Stiller, whose recent films include the mediocrities "Tower Heist" and "Little Fockers" hasn't made me laugh out loud since "Tropic Thunder" in 2008.
Vaughn, responsible for the awful "Couples Retreat" and "The Dilemma," hasn't been funny in an even longer period of time.
"The Watch" was a perfect formula for failure in the planning stages, which is when this idea should have been squashed like one of the low-rent, bug-like aliens in the movie. They look like something from "Alien," but in closer examination resemble a store mannequin rip-off of that space creature.
Everything about this picture feels like a knock-off of movies we've seen before, but with a pulse.
It is astounding to realize that the script is written by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, whose raunchy-but-intelligent "Superbad" has become a model of teen movies in recent years.
Perhaps Rogen and Goldberg have a lot of growing up to do because "The Watch" feels like it features some of the boys from "Superbad," but 30 years later, as buffoons who learned nothing from those early events and grew up to be socially inept, penis-obsessed juvenile losers.
Stiller plays Evan - an anal-retentive type that the actor has played so many times before - who promises to find the killer of his friend, who looks to have been killed by someone armed with green slime from the Kids' Choice Awards.
The answer, he decides, is to form a neighborhood watch program - or as his wife sees it, "another club" in which her overbearing, now-friendless hubby might find some friends.
Evan forms a motley crew consisting of Bob (Vaughn), who sees the group as a beer-drinking opportunity; Franklin (Jonah Hill), the young member and police-department reject who thinks he's joined a vigilante squad; and Jamarcus (British actor/director Richard Ayoade), the new guy in the neighborhood getting to know people.
Evan looks to form a crack on-the-lookout team, but the others are mostly planning to drink Budweiser. More pops top in this movie than at a frat party. I've noticed this recently: The worse the star-studded comedy, the more product placement there is, and "The Watch" may have been totally financed by Anheuser-Busch.
Their bungling misadventures and fighting off an alien invasion is so lame that the 98-minute movie is padded with crude sex jokes to the point of this being a gross-out movie for adult males. Editing these out for cable-TV showings in the future might leave a 30-minute flick.
Even that would make your head hurt, leaving you muttering, "There's a half-hour of my life I'll never get back."
Cast: Ben Stiller, Vince
Vaughn, Jonah Hill, Rosemarie
DeWitt, Will Forte
Cinemark Tulsa, Cinemark
Broken Arrow, RiverWalk,
Owasso, Eton Square, Sand
Springs, Moviestar Cinema,
Running time: 1 hour, 38
Rated: R (some strong sexual
content including references,
pervasive language and violent
Quality: (on a scale of zero
to four stars)
Original Print Headline: Nothing to see here
Michael Smith 918-581-8479
A neighborhood skater kid (Johnny Pemberton) easily gets the better of his hapless interrogators, Evan (Ben Stiller, left) and Franklin (Jonah Hill, right). Twentieth Century Fox/Courtesy