The Watch (2012) by The Critical Movie Critics

Movie Review: The Watch (2012)

The Watch (2012) by The Critical Movie Critics

The neighborhood watch.

I have never claimed to be a screenwriter (nor would I even try to), but it seems to me that if The Watch had just been about a group of goofy, inept, over-the-top neighborhood watchmen, then it could have been a much tighter, coherent and interesting endeavor. Under the eye of director Akiva Schaffer (“Hot Rod”) and penmanship of writers Jared Stern, Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen, however, the film is badly-managed and all over the map — thematically speaking. Adding murder, mutilation, orgies and an ill-conceived alien invasion just shows the desperation (and bloated budget) the cast and crew were forced to work with. Never has the phrase “less is more” been so sorely needed in a so-called comedic production.

Thus, the first pairing of Ben Stiller and Vince Vaughn since 2005’s “Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story” is sadly wasted as the laughs come few and far between. And, when they do, they are usually overshadowed by following sequences of slaughter, mayhem and utter confusion that leaves both casual film patron and experienced movie critic scratching their collective heads in complete bewilderment.

The ludicrous plot has longtime Costco manager Evan (Stiller) grieving over the killing of a Mexican security guard in a most offensive and stereotypical scene that most definitely doesn’t fit within the confines of a comedy. Appearing in front of a high school football audience (in one of the few really funny sequences), Evan makes an appeal for neighborhood watch recruits, but can only attract three weirdoes — Bob (Vaughn), Franklin (Jonah Hill, fresh from the hilarious “21 Jump Street”) and Jamarcus (Richard Ayoade) — who use the situation to get away from their wives and family members and look to get drunk and party.

The quartet is a joke (a really UNfunny joke, however), being ridiculed by smart-mouthed teens, random citizens and local law enforcement. When more murders take place, though, as well as the discovery of a forthcoming alien invasion, the group begins to suspect most everyone in the small Ohio town is involved (because, evidently, the invaders can also assume human form, any further plot explanation is really unnecessary at this point).

The Watch (2012) by The Critical Movie Critics

Alien tech with idiots.

Along the way there are also several pointless subplots in The Watch, one including Bob’s slutty daughter, Chelsea (Erin Moriarty) and another on Evan’s low sperm count; neither of which is even remotely interesting or humorous. Lame supporting characters include Will Forte (“MacGruber”) as the disbelieving town cop, and Rosemarie DeWitt (“Your Sister’s Sister”), as Evan’s wife. The final conflict takes place at the Costco store and, like the rest of the enterprise is boring, confusing and nowhere near comedic at it needed to be.

And so The Watch, the much-anticipated Stiller-Vaughn reunion (well, anticipated by SOME people, I suppose), falls flat on its face. The painfully unfunny story, that meanders around like a rudderless alien spacecraft, makes this comedy the most disappointing and depressing adventure of the year.

Critical Movie Critic Rating:
1 Star Rating: Stay Away


Movie Review: Once Upon a Time in Anatolia (2011)
Movie Review: Farewell, My Queen (2012)

The Critical Movie Critics

I have been a movie fan for most of my life and a film critic since 1986 (my first published review was for "Platoon"). Since that time I have written for several news and entertainment publications in California, Utah and Idaho. Big fan of the Academy Awards - but wish it would go back to the five-minute dinner it was in May, 1929. A former member of the San Diego Film Critics Society and current co-host of "The Movie Guys," each Sunday afternoon on KOGO AM 600 in San Diego with Kevin Finnerty.

'Movie Review: The Watch (2012)' have 14 comments

  1. The Critical Movie Critics

    July 27, 2012 @ 9:23 pm Wade Wilson

    Passing on this one.

  2. The Critical Movie Critics

    July 27, 2012 @ 10:04 pm Cheezey

    Sounds like they just threw every idea they could think of against the wall and wrote in what stuck. Its apparenly a bad way to write a movie.

  3. The Critical Movie Critics

    July 27, 2012 @ 10:35 pm HighFlyer

    Overall it could have been better but its got a lot of good one liners and some really hilarious scenes.

  4. The Critical Movie Critics

    July 27, 2012 @ 11:16 pm Snipple

    Vince Vaughn and Ben Stiller are great together. The violence you mention isn’t so bad either.

  5. The Critical Movie Critics

    July 28, 2012 @ 12:30 am Mike

    I liked it. The writing is on the stale side but Stiller,Hill,Vaughn and Ayoade own it.

  6. The Critical Movie Critics

    July 28, 2012 @ 9:56 am dar

    poor brit Richard Ayoade
    – he must have felt he landed on the Planet Retardia
    – think of what could have been if the crew from BFQ had improvised the entire film…
    Big Fat Quiz of the Year 2010

  7. The Critical Movie Critics

    July 28, 2012 @ 12:07 pm RobsterCraw

    shoulda left the title ‘Neighborhood Watch’. bowing to pressure from the Trayvon Martin case was the first misstep of many…

  8. The Critical Movie Critics

    July 28, 2012 @ 7:59 pm Bleach Me

    Attack the Block is where its at.

    • The Critical Movie Critics

      August 2, 2012 @ 3:39 am Cataractor

      I’m with you on that Bleach Me.

  9. The Critical Movie Critics

    July 29, 2012 @ 2:26 pm QuarryDog

    Stiller and Vaughns schtick has outlived its funniness. I’m wary of any movie their in individually or together.

  10. The Critical Movie Critics

    August 1, 2012 @ 10:18 am MooseSpear

    Skinny Jonah is not as funny as fat Jonah. Its a scientific fact/

    • The Critical Movie Critics

      August 2, 2012 @ 10:12 pm A Fat Dude

      Jonah Hill is just as funny thin, asshat.

  11. The Critical Movie Critics

    August 6, 2012 @ 4:21 pm SarahLee

    I can see how the movie looked good on paper. It probably would have translated better to screen if a writer from SNL wasn’t pegged to direct it.

  12. The Critical Movie Critics

    October 19, 2012 @ 6:07 pm Cleveland

    It’s not all bad: at least some thought and skill went into the alien makeup.

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