The Score: "[The Watch] Seems Like A Major Waste Of Direction & Raw Materials"

Friday, Jul 27, 2012 12:05PM

Written by Cyrus Langhorne

Watch Trailer
  • The Watch
  • Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn
  • July 27, 2012
Redeye Chicago 2/4
Chicago Tribune 2/5
Toledo Free Press 2/5
National Post 1.5/5
Washington Post 2/4

There's no better way to kick-off a hot weekend than stuffing your mouth with popcorn and letting out non-stop laughs to a star-studded flick. Today, The Watch hits theaters nationwide and promises endless chuckles with a cast led by Hollywood funnymen Ben Stiller and Vince Vaughn.

The new flick centers on a community of amateur neighborhood watchmen who unite to keep their local suburbia in tact.

In the new film, suburban Ohio dopes played by Jonah Hill, Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn and Richard Ayoade (director of the recommended "Submarine") work to protect the peaceful town of Glenview after a security guard loses his life and skin during an attack at the Costco that Evan (Stiller) manages. Soon they discover an extraterrestrial suspect, who adds to their already-high stress levels brought on by Bob's (Vaughn) teenage daughter (Erin Moriarty) and Evan's creepy new neighbor (Billy Crudup). (Redeye Chicago)

Ben Stiller leads the cast of colorful and comical actors as the film's protagonist.

The first note of déjà vu comes via our central hero, Evan, a nice guy who works at the local Costco. He's played by Ben Stiller, who continues to mine the same gangrenous vein of everyman he first poked in the Meet the Parents movies. Evan is ordinary, and we're supposed to like his Dockers and windbreaker soul. Yet, as hard as Stiller tries to sell this humble shtick, it doesn't work because his performance is steeped in self-consciousness. As a result, when Evan's drama kicks off with the mysterious death of the Costco night watchman, we're not always sympathetic to his cause -- no matter how noble it may be. (National Post)

The famed Meet the Parents actor receives a supporting cast of clumsy-but-funny characters portrayed by Vaughn, Jonah Hill and Richard Ayoade.

Bob (Vince Vaughn) is a father of a teenager and his wife has recently been on the road, away from home. He's ready for some guy time, not necessarily on Watch duty. Franklin (Jonah Hill) is a wannabe cop who couldn't pass the written or physical tests to join the police force. He is intense in his mannerisms and is the male embodiment of Melissa McCarthy's character in "Bridesmaids." The third member to join Evan's team is Jamarcus (Richard Ayoade). He's looking for other guy friends and wouldn't mind fraternizing with neighborhood ladies. This group is the only chance the Earth has to survive. Once they stumble upon their first alien, what they do with it is documented in one of the trailers distributed by 20th Century Fox. (Toledo Free Press)

Stiller's new flick also reportedly had a name-change prior to hitting theaters today.

It's too bad "The Watch" will be weighted down by real-life tragedies that the film's makers could never have foreseen -- because this silly, raunchy and comically violent movie is the sort of knockabout comedy that crumples under the pressure of real-world problems. The movie's problems in that area began months ago, when the movie had a different title: "Neighborhood Watch." That title suddenly had bad connotations because of the much-publicized case of George Zimmerman, the Florida neighborhood-watch volunteer now facing a murder charge in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin. (Salt Lake Tribune)

While initial laughs are promised, various reviewers suggest the flick shares too many unoriginal scenarios and a simplistic storyline.

Much of the action takes place in the Costco, which brings up unfortunate memories of the old John Hughes movie "Career Opportunities," which took place mostly inside a Target. Director Akiva Schaffer helped create "I'm on a Boat," "Lazy Sunday" and other sharp-witted short films seen on "Saturday Night Live," so it made sense to hire him to loosen up a mechanical project such as this. Or try to, anyway. His formidable stars know how to muscle a script, any script, into giving up a few laughs. But it's Ayoade who brings something fresh. He appears to have wandered over from another film set, ready to mess around a little. (Chicago Tribune)
The real question when reviewing any comedy is: Did it make me laugh? In The Watch's case it legitimately did - though I'd be hard pressed to tell you now exactly what I thought was so funny in the film. I'm sure if you get four actors with this much natural character, improvising off each other, something funny has to spill out of the blender. But when you take these same actors and toss them in the setting that made The Burbs, Attack the Block, and Hot Fuzz the cult phenoms that they are, and then totally ignore the pseudo-clever premise you marketed your film with, (in The Watch's instance - aliens invading the American suburbs) and instead choose to drown the project under a deluge of dick jokes...? It seems like a major waste of direction and raw materials. In fact, (and in keeping with the direction of The Watch's cheap brand of hilarity...) it seems like a wank. (Examiner)

Check out The Watch trailer below:

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