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The Independent Critic

STARRING
Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, Jonah Hill, Richard Ayoade, R. Lee Ermey, Doug Jones, Will Forte, Rosemarie Dewitt, Billy Crudup
DIRECTED BY
Akiva Schaffer
SCREENPLAY
Evan Goldberg, Jared Stern, Seth Rogen
MPAA RATING
Rated R
RUNNING TIME
100 Mins.
DISTRIBUTED BY
20th Century Fox
DVD EXTRAS
deleted scenes, gag reel, "Alien Invasions & You," "Casting the Alien." Also, on Blu-ray: alternate takes, "Watchmakers" making-of featurette.

 "The Watch" Isn't Worth Watching 
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There's not much in the cinematic world that's more awkward than watching a film try, and I mean really try, to be funny.

The Watch, which as many of us know experienced a name change following the alleged certain actions by a certain Florida neighborhood watch leader, is a painfully unfunny film that is almost admirable in just how hard both cast and crew are working to turn this into a funny film.

It simply doesn't work.

Ben Stiller stars as Evan, a store manager whose overnight security guard is murdered by some unseen force. He recruits three guys including Bob (Vince Vaughn), Franklin (Jonah Hill) and Jamarcus (Richard Ayoade) who are going to join him in his neighborhood watch. The resulting film is a mishmash of genres, none of which end up being pulled off particularly well. On the surface, The Watch sounds like it could be a decent flick. After all, it features Ben Stiller playing the kind of character that Ben Still always plus and, for the most part, Vince Vaughn is doing the exact same thing. Jonah Hill and Richard Ayoade have quite a bit more success here, though Ayoade's is almost exclusively because he's just plain funny to look at in the film.

It's no secret that The Watch weaves together your typical low-brow raunchfest into a sci-fi story when our fairly fearless foursome ends up encountering the otherworldly suspect in the killing. While the raunch is certainly raunchy, it's never really that funny and the sci-fi is fairly middle of the road and certainly not sufficient enough to carry the film.

It was hard not to think about Adam Sandler's latest flick, That's My Boy, while watching The Watch. The two films seemed similar in the sense that they are essentially PG-13 rated films dirtied up to attract an R-rating and supposedly to free up the cast to cut loose a little more. Considering Seth Rogen gets a writing credit here, along with Evan Goldberg and Jared Stern, one could reasonably expect The Watch to be equal parts raunch and innocent but laugh out loud funny. It would appear, however, that even Rogen has a bad day and his naughtying up of this otherwise generic script feels forced and remarkably bland.

As noted, only Hill and Ayoade really impress here and even that's only evident in limited doses. The film's supporting females, played by Rosemarie Dewitt and Erin Moriarty, are stuck with almost nothing to do but do manage to give the film just a touch of emotional resonance. R. Lee Ermey shows up as a rather off-kilter neighbor but, once again, he's really being the Ermey that most of us would expect.

It's difficult to predict just how much of an audience The Watch will attract on its opening weekend, which also happens to be the second weekend for The Dark Knight Rises and the weekend after events in Aurora, Colorado made many in America just a bit more skittish about stepping inside a theater.

If you're heading out this weekend, just skip this flick and go ahead and experience The Dark Knight Rises. It'll be a whole lot more entertaining with a whole lot less green slime.

© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic  
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