Comedy Movies, by Mike Richardson, 29 August 2012

Director: Akiva Schaffer

Stars: Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn and Jonah Hill

Country: USA

Runtime: 102 min

Release Date:

Language: English

The Watch is a aims for LOL comedy with four dull suburbanites (Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, Jonah Hill and Richard Ayoade (listed in both descending ”star” status and ascending comedy value for money order)) who form a neighbourhood watch group as a way to get out of their day-to-day suburban melancholies, but instead find themselves defending the Earth from an alien invasion. This means we should have been given two comedies for the price of one…1) A bunch of Murky Harrys acting Vic (The Shield) Mackey tough on the “mean” streets of Arcadia Avenue. And 2) a village idiot retelling of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, instead we get about 40% of one and 35% of the other ending up with ¾ of a whole film.

The Watch

The Watch

The Watch had a difficult gestation and entered development as Neighbourhood Watch back in early 2008, planned as a “PG-13 kind of Ghostbusters type of thing, with David Dobkin directing and Will Ferrell in the leading role. Then in November 2010 Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg were brought on board to perform a complete re-write of the script, aiming for an R-rated adult-orientated film. Therefore the released Watch get more adult (and allegedly funnier) character traits. Stiller’s Evan has fertility issues. Vaughn’s Bob is playing a loudmouth man-child looking to spend some time away from his family (for a change), in fact Vaughn is in real danger of being a modern day Rin Tin Tin; always playing the same dog. Hill’s Franklin is a maladjusted gun nut wannabe cop who failed the written, physical, and mental tests for service, complete with bedroom arsenal (an unfortunate image, in light of real life Neighbourhood Watch events, something that harmed the film’s box office stateside). Finally the star of the show is acclaimed indie director Richard Ayoade playing Jamarcus who has just moved into the area and wants to meet the locals, particularly women, specifically sex starved desperate housewives.

The plot is catalysed when a night watchman is brutally murdered at Stiller’s work; the local (everything under one roof) Costco store. The Watch is formed and despite the bunch’s desire to just hang out, drink beer in Bob’s basement and momentarily escape their humdrum lives the Watch discover a good old alien invasion. Much like classic bodysnatching films, these aliens are disguising themselves as humans. This means SHOCK / HORROR that anybody in the neighbourhood could be an alien.

A this point The Watch runs out of self –belief and funny.

Stiller’s earlier film Mystery men was similar (suburban superheroes tackle real supervillians) and funnier while last year’s British indie hit from Joe Cornish, Attack the Block, which featured a group of rowdy London kids tackling an alien threat to their community, was far cleverer.

Don’t watch The Watch watch Mystery Men / Attack the Block instead.

The Watch Trailer

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