Starring: Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, Jonah Hill, Richard Ayoade, Rosemarie DeWitt
Rated R for Some Strong Sexual Content including References, Pervasive Language and Violent Images
"The Watch" was re-titled from its original title, "Neighborhood Watch," after the horrible Trayvon Martin shooting. All things considered, it won't make much of a difference. This movie sucks. It's overlong, unfunny and boring.
Evan (Stiller) is the nicest guy in Glenview, Ohio. He's founded a number of neighborhood clubs and dotes on his wife, Abby (DeWitt). He is even supportive of his friend, Antonio Guzman (Joe Nunez) gaining American citizenship. But when Antonio is savagely murdered, Evan forms a Neighborhood Watch. Joining him are motormouthed father Bob (Vaughn), wannabe cop Franklin (Hill), and neighborhood newbie Jamarcus (Ayoade). No one takes them seriously, however. And the only one who takes The Watch seriously is Evan. That is until they stumble onto an alien.
Few things are worse than bad comedies. A joke that fails to land is at best eye-rolling, and I did plenty of that during "The Watch." Three of the actors have been funny before (haven't seen Ayoade in anything before and I don't plan to), but no one is at the top of their game. The script, penned by the usually reliable Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen (plus Jared Stern) is barren. And the direction by Akiva Schaeffer (whose previous mainstream credit, "Hot Rod," was one of the worst movies I've ever seen) lacks timing and good handling.
None of the actors bear mentioning, mainly because they do what they always do. Ben Stiller works hard to be the nice everyman, but he's not given anything to work with. Vince Vaughn runs his mouth and is always shouting for some reason. Jonah Hill acts weird. And Richard Ayoade is simply irritating. Only Rosemarie DeWitt escapes unscathed, but she's given nothing to do but play the horny housewife.
One of the things that "The Watch" does is mistake being gross for being funny. Gross and humor often mix well; just look at "Borat." But there has to be a turn to the joke. Merely doing something gross is just that: doing something gross. Sadly, that's what happens with this movie.
"The Watch" isn't a complete waste; it manages an amusing bit every now and then, including a very funny joke about Boyz II Men. And the action scene at the end is nicely put together. That being said, the film is mainly one long, painfully unfunny stretch of boredom.