DVD Release Date: November 13, 2012
In The Watch (2012), a night watchman at the local Costco is brutally murdered, the manager of the store, Evan Trawling (Ben Stiller) starts a neighborhood watch group. He and his group of misfits, Bob (Vince Vaughn), Franklin (Jonah Hill) and Jamarcus (the IT Crowd’s amazing Richard Ayoade) soon suspect alien invasion. Can they stop the aliens before their small Ohio town is laid to waste?
I am not a Ben Stiller fan. I cannot name a movie beyond Mystery Men that he’s helmed and I’ve enjoyed. I am, however, a huge fan of English actor, Richard Ayoade, and his presence in The Watch made it a mostly enjoyable viewing experience. Let me get this out of the way immediately, the reason I am not a fan of some of the 1990s comedians (Ben Stiller, Rob Schneider, Adam Sandler etc.) is that there are certain things that you can count on in their films and some of those go to troupes are homophobic. Throw in Vince Vaughn and you can be sure there will be a few jokes that read as a throwback to a time when the expectation is that gay folk should be humiliated and trying to hide their personal preferences. I’m sure some folks find them funny but I do not. They are uncomfortable and simply hard to watch. There are a few homophobic jokes in The Watch but beyond those jokes, it’s an overall good buddy movie that would have been better without them.
The chemistry between the actors and the selection of their archetypes is brilliance. Still plays the community-minded do-gooder who genuinely wants to change the world. He’s uptight and slow to bend. Vaughn plays the character he plays in most movies, the guy who just wants to get away and hang with the guys. I half expected at some point in the film for him to have a child nearby and say “earmuffs” during some of the bawdier moments. Hill desperately wants to be a cop but he’s something of a screw-up who has failed both the physical and written tests to join the force. Ayoade plays the strange guy who is only marginally more socially adept than Mos, his IT Crowd alter ego.
Released in the wake of the murder of Trayvon Martin by Neighborhood Watch Volunteer, George Zimmerman, the name of the movie was changed from Neighborhood Watch to The Watch. The focus of the movie shifted more toward the impending alien invasion and while the heroes of the film are swilling beer, we find out fairly early on that there are indeed aliens. We don’t know their scope, their intelligence or their intent. As the guys misstep and fumble in their search, their comedy is pointless slapstick and so dude, that it’s hard not to smile. It’s all about charging into danger, protecting loved ones, drinking beer.
Lets be clear, The Watch is not fine art. It’s entertainment and there’s nothing wrong with that. There may be moments you can’t look beyond so if raunchy physical comedy is not something you like to see, you may want to give this one a miss. In my opinion, The Watch is Shaun of the Dead’s less appealing little brother but also a family member you look forward to seeing.
|Jonah Hill, Ben Stiller
|1 hour and 42 minutes
|November 13, 2012