Capone declares THE WATCH not unwatchable, but not particularly good either!!!
Hey everyone. Capone in Chicago here.
I'm guessing there's a running theory in filmmaking that if you throw enough funny people in a movie, something funny is bound to result. And considering the sheer volume of usually talented folks involved in the making of THE WATCH (both in front of and behind the camera), on paper this movie should be the fucking end-all comedy of the decade. Alas, it is not.
From a script by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg (along with contributions from Jared Stern), directed by Lonely Island member Akiva Schaffer, and starring Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, Jonah Hill and British scene-stealer Richard Ayoade ("The IT Crowd"), The Watch has a few big laughs, a handful of medium-size laughs, and a few chuckles, but honestly, this thing should have been so much better.
The problems are many. First off, the script is flimsy, focusing on a group of guys in the community forming a neighborhood watch group after a security guard at the local Costco (managed by Stiller's character) is brutally murdered in the overnight hours. I don't think at this point I'm spoiling anything by mentioning that there's an alien-invasion angle to this material, and once that is fully revealed and explored, we basically get a group of grown men acting like brain-damaged children.
The performances don't help as nearly all of the actors play a variation of their go-to personas. Stiller is neurotic, controlling and substitutes actual friendships for starting up neighborhood clubs. Vaughn is a motor mouth, who sees the neighborhood watch as an excuse to hang out with local dudes and drink beer in his man-cave. Even Ayoade, who might be the most consistently funny performer in the movie, is playing the lovable nerd he played so well in "The IT Crowd."
Jonah Hill is the only actor playing a character, but even then, he's essentially playing a variation of Seth Rogen character in OBSERVE AND REPORT, a guy who failed to get in the police academy, has a stash of guns, and has only joined up to kick ass. Hill gets off some of the best improv lines, but it feels like he's filling in the blanks on a weak screenplay. Will Forte is on hand as a local cop who hates the neighborhood watch guys because they think they are somehow members of law enforcement.
THE WATCH isn't unwatchable; far from it. This cast makes it easy to kick back and just let the plot unfold in fairly standard ways. There's some nice creature suit work from Doug Jones, and it's tough to complain too much whenever R. Lee Ermey gets to wield a shotgun and curse, but there were particular characters and subplots in this movie that bored me almost from the first frame. There's a storyline about Stiller being unable to get his wife (Rosemarie Dewitt) pregnant, and I still don't understand why any of that was in this movie. At least the subplot about Vaughn's teenage daughter getting physical with her boyfriend has a solid payoff, but until it gets there, those scenes feel really pervy.
I didn't do a joke count on THE WATCH, but the jokes-per-minute rate was pretty low, and I found it almost troubling how few times Ben Stiller even gets to be funny. He's painted as the heavy, intense beige character whose hangups aren't playing for laughs. Nothing says funny like being infertile, I guess. I wish I had more to say about this collection of comic actors I really like to varying degrees, but the cricket noises in the theater will probably say it all. THE WATCH feels like filler material, beefed up with improv that's taking the place of an actual script. That's too bad because I genuinely like the concept, but this one simply doesn't cut it.
-- Steve Prokopy
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July 27, 2012, 2:24 p.m. CST
July 27, 2012, 2:27 p.m. CST
Cat got your tongue?
July 27, 2012, 2:30 p.m. CST
This is the way the world works. Deal with that shit.
July 27, 2012, 2:33 p.m. CST
He was barely Batman in that movie & didn't even throw a Tivo.
July 27, 2012, 2:38 p.m. CST
Stick to your shorts. You suck after 3 minutes.
July 27, 2012, 2:42 p.m. CST
July 27, 2012, 3:01 p.m. CST
July 27, 2012, 3:11 p.m. CST
And, is it me, or does Vince Vaughn play the SAME guy in every fucking one of his movies. He's always the annoying dick that likes to monologue for five minutes in a monotone voice whilst attempting to suppress his rage. I've never met anyone who claimed Vince Vaughn was their favorite actor. How does he keep getting work?
July 27, 2012, 3:16 p.m. CST
I know I'm comparing apples to zebras, but remember when writers actually wrote plots with stories and stories with plots?
Instead nowadays, it seems like a lot scripts are just a bunch of "what if's". What if we get a foursome of funny actors and they form a neighborhood watch, THEN what if they discover an alien invasion in their neighborhood..???
July 27, 2012, 3:18 p.m. CST
intelligently, instead of a bunch a situations designed for the actors to adlib dialogue.
July 27, 2012, 3:23 p.m. CST
too bad this is getting such negative reviews.
July 27, 2012, 3:26 p.m. CST
and i like Samberg!
July 27, 2012, 3:45 p.m. CST
Mentally Disturbed University Student! (what? too soon?)
July 27, 2012, 4:09 p.m. CST
July 27, 2012, 4:39 p.m. CST
A bit too close if you ask me
July 27, 2012, 4:51 p.m. CST
July 27, 2012, 5:50 p.m. CST
I haven't seen the movie. I'll wait for the dvd. I didn't think the script was great. It had potential, but there wasn't anything that I thought was that funny. One huge plot hole was that the aliens are trying to use global warming to heat up the planet (as always) and cold weakens them or can kill them. But the script takes place on Long Island, where it gets cold. Someone told me the movie takes place in Ohio, gets cold there too. I thought the third act was really weak though. And the script wasted too much time setting up Stiller as a New Yorker, living in New York, ultimately moving to the 'burbs. But to me it made more sense to have Stiller move to the 'burbs and join the watch. In the movie, he starts the watch. I haven't seen the movie, but I have a feeling Rogan and Goldberg didn't improv on the plot, they just changed stuff around enough so they would get the writing credit. This could've been a fun movie and it sucks that Ayoade has to be in this shitty movie. Hopefully he'll get more offers. But look at Chris O'Dowd. He's been in shit. I know some people liked Bridesmaids, but I thought it was horrible and O'Dowd's American accent is as bad as Lucy Punch's. It's nasal and annoying.
July 27, 2012, 6 p.m. CST
What concept haven't we explored? The Manatees came up with 'neighborhood watches", "aliens", and "Apatow humor.
July 27, 2012, 6:58 p.m. CST
how do you fuck up this bad with so much good talent in front of the camera?
July 27, 2012, 7:13 p.m. CST
by Pvt. Duke
You've been all over his ass.
July 27, 2012, 7:20 p.m. CST
Even when they're on the mark, you'll never get anything substantial from the Hills and the Rogens and all the other kid-actors who were given a free ride into screenwriting.
by Pvt. Duke
No real conflict, nothing interesting to say, just dick jokes and f-bombs and pop culture bullshit. Fucking actors.
July 27, 2012, 8 p.m. CST
Hopefully what people will take away from this movie is that they will look up more info on Richard Ayoade, who did get most of the big laughs when I saw it. People who haven't seen 'The IT Crowd' before this will see it and easily love the show because of the familiarity of Maurice Moss in relation to The Watch. Maybe they'll see 'Submarine' as well, which was a great directing debut from him.
July 27, 2012, 8:10 p.m. CST
by Henry Fool
Honestly, it looks like a poor man's ripoff of 'Attack the Block' which is one of my favorite alien invasion movies of all time. That movie was to 'Aliens' what 'Shaun of the Dead' was to 'Dawn of the Dead'.
July 27, 2012, 8:19 p.m. CST
"Look at his face." <br> "Look at my face." <br> "Look at his face." <br> "Hear my face and visualize his words." <br><br> With brilliant dialogue like that, how could this film *not* be a modern classic of comic cinema?
July 27, 2012, 8:38 p.m. CST
When was the last time Stiller was funny? Maybe Zoolander. & Vaughn saying the same thing 10 differnet ways does not funny dialogue make, fuckin' wind bag.
July 27, 2012, 8:40 p.m. CST
How did he actually get into this film? Not a criticism, I think he's great in The IT Crowd and Garth Marenghi's Darkplace but it just seems odd to have a random Brit in an American film. Did Chris O'Dowd drag him over after his stint in Bridesmaids? That casting confused me as well, can you have Irish State Troopers?!
July 27, 2012, 11:43 p.m. CST
July 27, 2012, 11:44 p.m. CST
Summing up at least 50% of American comedies right there.
July 28, 2012, 12:06 a.m. CST
I thought this review was about some master piece bullshit like the reader or something. You don't see the words "the watch" and assume it's a screwball comedy.
July 28, 2012, 1:42 a.m. CST
@franky 5 fingers-I like some of the Apatow offspring movies but I agree.I never revisit them as classic comedies.
July 28, 2012, 1:59 a.m. CST
by Bedknobs and Boomsticks
July 28, 2012, 2:01 a.m. CST
by Bedknobs and Boomsticks
In fact, he'd be perfect for GBIII.
July 28, 2012, 11:42 a.m. CST
July 28, 2012, 1:45 p.m. CST
...but I caught a midnight showing last night and really enjoyed it. Plenty of laughs to be found. I fully endorse getting high and checking this one out. Something kind of fucked up happened at the theater, though. Some asshole must have put gum in the cup holder, 'cause halfway through the movie I started smelling all minty - only to realize there was gum stuck to my coffee cup and now stretched out all over my hands, pants, and hoodie. Goddamn savages!
July 28, 2012, 5:11 p.m. CST
Well Stiller was a producer on his movie Submarine so I guess they must have met up some time at least two to three years ago. Plus Ayoade did do the US pilot for the US version of the IT Crowd.
July 28, 2012, 6:36 p.m. CST
Really not that uncommon. And yeah, far as I'm aware, you don't have to have been born here to be a police officer, to the above post. Once you become a citizen, there really aren't many limitations imposed upon you. Unless, of course, you wan't to become President.
July 29, 2012, 9:04 a.m. CST
What this film has done is shined a light on one of the most brilliant comedic minds of our time. I got turned on a few weeks ago to The IT Crowd. Then watched all of em. Belly laughs aplenty. Then I went on to The Mighty Boosh, Garth Marengi's Darkplace,Snuff Box, etc...All this guy needs is the right vehicle and his career should take off like a rocket.
July 29, 2012, 9:48 p.m. CST
I know this wasn't specifically a Jonah Hill movie but once again, without a Brad Pitt or Channing Tatum to bouy him, yet another movie Jonah Hill appears in flops... When is Hollywood going to get it? My fiance summed it up yet again last week when a trailer for The Watch came on: "Why do they keep putting this toad-faced kid in movies?" Ah the mysteries of Hollywood...
July 30, 2012, 3:46 a.m. CST
TOP GEAR!!<p> Seen them try to get out of a car WHILE IT WAS STILL GOING THROUGH A CAR WASH!!!!! <p> TV comedy GOLD (for retards)
July 30, 2012, 9:49 a.m. CST
franky 5 fingers - I can't understand how they put some schmuck in charge of a 68 million dollar budget
July 30, 2012, 4:03 p.m. CST
I mean, he's not even the heavy hitter in this. That would be Stiller. And Vaughn is still a bigger name than Hill. I would say the blame falls first to a bad script (Rogen is not a screenwriter, Green Hornet proved that), second to bad direction (I agree with mennen as to why did they let this Akiva clown direct this) and third to a cast just phoning in their standard schticks (that would include Hill.) That all said, Jonah Hill is a fine actor. Overrated, yes, as far as his Oscar nod, but still not as bad as you say. And true, he does not have standard leading man looks, but that is a good thing that someone who does not fit into the Hollywood status quo of what is considered generic good looks, imo.
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