Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Watch (2012) - Movie Review

By now I'm sure you've heard about how the title for The Watch was changed from Neighborhood Watch after the Trevon Martin thing.  However, you'll realize in the opening moments that this has nothing to do with that situation - AT ALL!  Even if you haven't seen the trailers, it will be clear that this is an alien invasion movie.  Also, it's not like they stopped calling it the 'neighborhood watch' during the movie.  Were they going to go back and reshoot every scene where that was said?  Change what their jackets said, too?  I think it was an overreaction.

So, yeah, The Watch is about an alien invasion.  Ben Stiller stars as Evan, the manager of his local, suburban Costco.  Speaking of Costco, I wonder how much money they paid or got paid to be such a large part of the movie.  Half the movie takes place in or around a friggin' Costco.  The Watch has some of the most obvious product placement I've ever seen in a film.

Anyway, after the nightwatchman of Evan's Costco is brutally killed, he decides to form a Neighborhood Watch to protect the neighborhood and find the killer.  His enthusiasm isn't shared by most of the town and the local police, and he's only joined by Bob (Vince Vaughn), Franklin (Jonah Hill) and Jamarcus (Richard Ayoade).  The other guys don't take the watch as seriously as Evan though, and are more interested in a group of guys to pal around with.  As they investigate they find a strange device and eventually encounter an alien.  That's pretty much all there is to it.

The whole movie kind of hinges on how much you like the cast.  I thought they all played off each other very well.  I know Ben Stiller isn't everyone's cup of tea these days, but if you're annoyed by the types of roles he usually plays, you might like him here.  He's pretty much the straight man to the rest of the cast.  Vince Vaughn and Jonah Hill are pretty much on point and it felt like they got opportunities to improvise.  I really enjoyed Richard Ayoade, but I'm not familiar with The IT Crowd, so he was a newcomer for me.  I understand from fans of the show that they were disappointed he didn't get a chance to show what he can do, but I though he held his own against the rest of the cast and is someone you can expect to see in many more comedies.  Will Forte was funny as well.  Was Danny McBride not available?

Throughout the movie, I got a real 80's vibe from it.  Not that it was set in the 80's, but to me it had a similar feel to other sci-fi comedies from that era.  The humor in the movie for the most part is silly and raunchy.  It might be a little too vulgar for vulgarities sake, but it didn't really bug me.  The Watch was directed by The Lonely Island member and SNL writer Akiva Schaffer, who also directed Hot Rod, which is a favorite of mine.  I think his direction might be why I got the 80's vibe that I did.

Originally written by Jared Stern, but then Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg were brought in to re-write and punch up the script.  The movie's crude humor may remind you of some of their other movies like Superbad or Pineapple Express.  If that kind of humor isn't appealing to you, then this won't be for you either.

Maybe with all the negative reviews I had my expectations lowered heavily, or maybe I was just in a good mood, but I enjoyed The Watch.  To hear some critics talk about this movie, you would think Ben Stiller and Vince Vaughn came over to their house, drank all their beer and kicked their dog.  Sure, it's a dumb movie, but I had fun with it.  I laughed a bunch and enjoyed the cast.  I haven't said this in a while, but here's a good example of a movie better enjoyed if you rent it with a few friends and get a few six packs.

3 (out of 5) Death Stars


  1. You can watch this movie online for free at Pudies.com

  2. Good review Erik. This film barely had me laughing and it's such a shame too, because it seems like all of these guys can be really funny, except they're just given crap material to work with. What's even worse is that this one was written by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg. Tsk tsk.

    1. I'm surprised with the rewrites from Rogen and Goldberg that there wasn't more wit to this, but I enjoyed it enough as a silly comedy. As always, thanks for the comments.