The original title of this movie was Neighborhood Watch. After Trayvon Martin was shot by George Zimmerman while he was on a neighborhood watch in Florida, the studio decided it would be in bad taste to release it with that title. They thought it would be smart to distance themselves from such a senseless tragedy. I wish they would have decided not to release the whole thing because instead they just made another senseless tragedy with such a horrible film.
On paper, The Watch should be a slam dunk as a comedy film. It stars Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn and Jonah Hill. It was also written by Seth Rogen and his writing partner Evan Goldberg who both penned Superbad and Pinneapple Express. But The Watch is a bad film on an epic level. And the fault might be from director Akiva Schaffer (Hot Rod) who is part of Andy Samburg's comedy musical group, The Lonely Island. That is a comedy project that seems to be very popular but I have never once understood anything they've done and maybe I need to add The Watch to that list.
The plot is silly; a group of concerned citizens take to the streets to keep their suburb safe and instead find out the Earth is being invaded by aliens and it's up to them to save the world. Why them? Who the hell knows. That is the exact same plot of an indie British film called Attack the Block that came out last year and was pretty good. The Watch is such a bad movie that it ruins Attack the Block as well somehow.
Make no mistake, the first fifteen minutes are really funny. Stiller proves that he's still got it and why films like Tropic Thunder, Dodgeball and Zoolander. Hill has moments of funny but I think I'd much rather him continue to pursue more serious roles since his fat must have been where he kept his funny. And Vaughn is amusing but his fast-talking, slickness is tired and was novel when we first saw it in 1997's Swingers. Joining the cast is Richard Ayoade (Submarine), who is as unknown as they come for a film like this. It feels like he was the winner of a radio contest where he got to star in a comedy with these guys. I'm all for an unknown being placed in a top shelf comedy line-up, but he doesn't belong and he sticks out like a sore thumb. It's a total mystery as to why he's in it.
Easily one of the worst films from the three leads in a very long time, perhaps of all time. It becomes painful to watch by the end of the film since they rely so heavily on the R-rating to be "edgy" and instead just look foolish and no different than someone lighting their farts. The script isn't clever, the acting isn't funny and the overall film is as alien to comedy as the ones in the film.
The Watch (Rated R)
Gavin Grade: D