Movie Review – The Watch
July 29, 2012 Leave a comment
I love science fiction. I love comedy. I thought that the two genres of film might make beautiful love, but instead end up circle jerking one another in the Akiva Schaffer directed sci-fi comedy The Watch.
The Watch is essentially a raunch fest, rather than an alien invasion comedy. The premise of the film is centered around a group of suburbanites coming together to form a neighborhood watch after the gruesome death of a Costco security guard. Ben Stiller is the ring leader, the straightman of the group who get overly offended and sensitive to the buffoonery of frat boy adult Bob (Vince Vaungh), slightly off-kilter police reject Franklin (Jonah Hill) and token foreign neighbor Jamarcus (Richard Ayoade). The group ends up stumbling upon a plot by aliens to stage an invasion, starting in their little suburb.
While there is a lot potential for a localized, alien invasion comedy, The Watch really doesn’t even follow through with that potential. Where films like Attack The Block or eve Paul manage to blend in the science fiction tropes along with strong comedic acting, The Watch just uses it as means to launch into the raunchy humor that seems to be the only thing it has going for it. A cavalcade of penis and semen jokes seem to be the only thing that I can really remember from this movie. The setup for each scene plays out like this: “Dick joke. Gay joke. Dick and Cum joke. Stay on topic Aliens. Alien joke and finish with Dick joke.” That is the gist of the film. The aliens and the invasion is such a secondary thing that there isn’t really a lot of references to the plight of the neighborhood and any immediate sense of urgency.
Where the story and comedy fall short, there are some moments general brilliance that comes through from the actors. Vaungh has an innate ability to launch into some Dennis Miller like ranting which blends in some funny moments with a lot of improvising. His banter between himself and Jonah Hill make up some of the funnier moments as they have a father and son dynamic that is hilarious. But the best reason to see this movie is Richard Ayoade. If you have never seen Richard in The IT Crowd, then you should stop reading and Netflix the show. He absolutely steals the movie with his excellent delivery of some of the funnier, situational comedy moments. He plays off the gang very well being the guy in the background, but when he decides to speak up and make a joke, you listen and laugh.
That’s really the only kudos I can give the movie. A lot of small comedic moments lost against a lazy alien invasion movie. Director Akiva Schaffer and the writing team manages to continuously stroke the penis jokes, thinking that is what makes an R-Rated comedy funny. That isn’t the case though. Lazy, repetition of jokes again and again won’t make them funny over time and if they managed to take a cue from Jamarcus in the film and keep the jokes timely, this would have been a better movie.
On the whole, The Watch is probably more of a renter than anything else. The actors, with the exception of Richard Ayoade, play themselves from previous movies, which is funny at times but doesn’t really fit well in the movie. The jokes flounder on repetitive attempts to make them funny and the aliens are not even really a part of this movie since they are just so causally acknowledged by the members of the neighborhood watch as a threat equal to kids egging a house. There are some bright spots in the film where I laughed loudly, but many times I found myself just chuckling.
Rating: 2 penis jokes out of 5
*Images via RottenTomatoes