Wait and see
*I want to start this out by thanking everyone who reads my blog for reaching 3,000 views in less than 3 months! I didn’t really have any expectations when I started, but I certainly did not expect averaging 58 views per day less than a quarter of a year in. The new goal is 4,000 before August 23, when I leave for college. Think we can do it? I think yes.
Some movies are meant to be watched on HBO for a lazy Sunday afternoon’s enjoyment rather than paid big bucks to see at the theater, and The Watch fits faultlessly into that category. The movie’s promising cast of Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, Jonah Hill, and new to Hollywood screens Richard Ayoade conjure a fair amount of chuckles, but not enough full throttle LOLs to make it memorable. It’s a perfectly viewable once-and-done film, and nothing more.
The writers (if they can be called writers, considering the amount of improvisation done) are to blame, which is surprising considering Seth Rogen (Superbad, Pineapple Express) was at the helm. The concept, four idiots in a pedestrian town discovering a homicidal extraterrestrial and having no clue how to handle it, seemed promising. However, the script is an awkward balance between humor and action when it would have benefitted from focusing solely on the comedic aspect. The characters were sloppily inconsistent: Vaughn’s character starts out the movie as a carefree bumblehead fascinated by nothing beyond 3D TVs and beer, morphs into a mature and caring father trying to repair his dysfunctional relationship with his daughter somewhere along the line, and spontaneously reverts between the two personalities for the rest of the film, to name one of many. And the writers insist on cranking out three or four vulgar jokes for every one intelligent wisecrack used, as if trying to keep the audience entertained during the long gaps between when something actually funny happens.
The story plays out with comfortable familiarity. In Glenview, Ohio, Evan Trautwig (Stiller) begins a neighborhood watch to avenge the death of his beloved friend who was found gruesomely murdered in the even more beloved Costco store, which Trautwig is the manager of. Bob (Vaughn), Franklin (Hill) and Jamarcus (Ayoade) join him in the cause, but because this is a comedy movie, they are all woefully incompetent of any responsibilities. Their “search” leads them to the discovery of an alien invasion in Glenview, and the realization that any one of their seemingly normal neighbors could actually be an inhumane intergalactic life form hellbent on destroying the world.
Moving along with all the smoothness and excitement of the Lazy River at Camel Beach, the movie is devoid of any stand out moments that separate it from any other comedy released in the past five years. The humans who are actually aliens are predictable from miles away (but, in all fairness, rather cleverly set up). Ayoade makes the most out of his character, whose remote politeness and quirk make his the only non-cookie cutter comedy movie doofus on the main cast. Not to say they did a poor job, but looking back at their careers forty years from now, I doubt Stiller, Vaughn, and Hill will remember filming this. Saturday Night Live alum Will Forte was the comedic high point playing Sergeant Bressman, a policeman who (literally) pointed the finger at anyone except himself and whose random vendetta against Trautwig served as one of the funnier points in the movie.
Since the movie insists on taking the action scenes seriously, I guess I have to address them. The aliens are basic been-there-done-that designs for Hollywood (equipped with one pretty funny twist I won’t spoil). The movie is still predominately a comedy, so there was never a real threat of any of the main characters actually dying, which drained the movie of any suspense it probably hoped it had. The action is never flat out bad, but always flat out unremarkable, with the exception of one explosion particularly comedic explosion, probably because what we see flying through the sky in the aftermath. (If you’ve seen it, you’ll know what I mean.)
The movie is enjoyable for one time viewing, but I doubt I’ll ever sit down and watch the whole thing again. You might want to invest your money elsewhere – I heard a few good superhero movies came out this summer. If you’ve seen the previews, you’ve seen probably all the funniest stuff. If you have avoided them so far, you’ll probably enjoy it more than I did.