Reviewed By

Christopher Armstead
The family was at some movie when the trailer for this movie 'The Watch' ran, and it was funny.  I then turned to my young son and warned him that this funny trailer was a solid indication that this movie was probably going to suck, basing this on the experience that a large spate of recent comedies released, the few decent jokes they had in the running time was placed in the trailer to generate some interest.  But hey, I could be wrong.  I believe I said in these very pages that 'My Super Ex-Girlfriend' would be the surprise hit of the year when it was released, so clearly movie prognostication isn't my thing.  As it turns out, at least in my opinion, 'The Watch' didn't suck, but it was still disappointing considering the talent involved and the simple fact that dick jokes and pervasive vulgarity don't necessarily equate into solid humor. 

Evan (Ben Stiller) is a manager at Costco.  I'm guessing Sam's Club or B.J's didn't come up with the loot required for this amazing product placement opportunity this movie gave Costco, because if I've learned one thing from watching this movie, it's that Costco is awesome.  Life is good for Evan in this town in Ohio he lives in as everybody loves everybody, the sun shines all the time, and whenever you need something you can go to Costco.  Tragically one night, one of Evan's security guards is brutally murdered and to help find this killer Evan sends out a notice to this city that he's starting a Neighborhood Watch program.  Three people show up in Bob the boorish clown (Vince Vaughn), Franklin the unhinged overweight clown (Jonah Hill) and Jamarcus the British minority of unknown ethnicity (Richard Ayoade).  Jamarcus could really stand to be faded out a bit.  Or at least get his edges trimmed because you're in the USA now brother and we don't walk around looking like that unless we're homeless. 
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The problem with this watch is that while Evan takes it all super serious and stuff, the other three just want to have a good time, drink beer and talk dirty.  That is until they stumble upon the alien, and it's not a happy, fun E.T. type alien either, unless it's confusing human intestines for Reese's Pieces.  Now the watch has a situation, this being that Aliens are in whatever the name of this town was, and they have to stop them.  Worst still is that these aliens have the ability to step into our skin and look just like us which doesn't seem possible considering what they look like when they are not in human skin.  Worst still is that this movie has some melodrama infused in the narrative such as Evan's inability to impregnate his wife Abby (Rosemary Dewitt), Bob's desperate attempts to preserve his daughter's virginity, and Evan's controlling issues.  Understandably though he is the manager of a Costco, Costco's being awesome and all, which subsequently might lead a man to think he's the king of all that is. 

Since aliens have invaded the planet Earth, Costco in particular, their ultimate goal, of course, is world domination.  Our four watch members cannot and will not let that happen.  In theory mass hilarity shall ensue.  In actual execution, mild amusement was the order of the day.

Director Akiva Schaeffer's 'The Watch' is a moribund collection of tired performances, sporadic comedy, vulgarity overload and really suspect Science Fiction made palatable by Richard Ayoade and a very funny guest appearance turned in by Billy Crudup.  About the vulgarity overload, I mean I like a tasteless comedy as much as the next guy but there's vulgarity that leads to the path of comedy, then there's vulgarity which is vulgarity for the sake vulgarity.  I'm sure the scribes behind 'The Watch', one of whom being noted vulgarist Seth Rogen, believed they were taking the vulgar comedy path, but alas what we got was a bunch of dick jokes and semen jokes and urine references which ended up being more uncomfortable than anything else.  Then we have our actors, Ben Stiller playing a furrowed browed, put upon everyman, Vince Vaughn doing that thing he does and Jonah Hill as the quick talking overweight guy who says inappropriate things at inappropriate times.  In theory one would suppose that having actors do what they do best should work like a charm, in 'The Watch' however it came across as tired, lazy and uninspired.  Richard Ayoade however exploded on the screen as fresh and funny.  Now this cat has being doing his comedy for years across the pond, and it's possible that there are folks who are familiar with his brand of comedy and might've observed that he too was doing that Ayoade thing he always does, but since this was the first time I've seen him in anything, Ayoade and his accent were killing me and ultimately was almost this movies saving grace. 

The special effects were pretty cool though, and the movie was surprisingly gory for those who enjoy a little bloody evisceration wedged in between their suspect comedy.  Ultimately though the mild chuckles provided for us via 'The Watch' was far less than the huge guffaws we were banking on going in.  Betrayed by a trailer yet again.
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