Saturday, October 6, 2012

The Watch (2012)

Evan Trautwig (Ben Stiller) is a dedicated Costco manager, and Evan enjoys his life, as a passionate and generous resident of Glenview (a small, quiet town in Ohio). Glenview is a positive community, but a sudden tragedy disrupts Evan’s perfect life. One night, a Costco security guard (who is also one of Evan’s friends by the way) is brutally murdered. The lackadaisical police force isn’t willing to put forth a real effort, and no suspects emerge, so Evan decides to form a neighborhood watch team. With the help of Bob Finnerty (Vince Vaughn), Franklin (Jonah Hill), and Jamarcus (Richard Ayoade), Evan plans to track down the murder. But the neighborhood watch team discovers a devastating secret: an alien invasion will destroy Earth, and Glenview’s Costco is the home base for the deadly alien attackers. The neighborhood watch team must use their limited resources to stop the invasion, but Evan’s control freak habits might ruin everyone’s chances for survival.

The well-chosen cast is the major attraction for this film. Jonah Hill is just hilarious. Franklin still lives with his mother, and his employment application was rejected by the local police force. Franklin has some serious emotional issues. He’s a head case for the most part, but Hill never forgets the comical side of this character. Vince Vaughn could be annoying and over the top at times, but his performance as the down-to-earth manly man did pull some laughs out of me. I’m really not familiar with Ricahrd Ayoade’s work, but I enjoyed his performance as Jamarcus. As far as laughs go, Ayoade couldn’t match his fellow cast members, but he was funny at times. Ben Stiller is kind of goofy and obnoxious, but Stiller was very believable, as the uptight and squeaky clean Costco manager. And you really get to see the normal side of the Evan character, as he faces some marital problems with his wife, Abby (Rosemarie DeWitt). Also, Will Forte and R. Lee Ermey were great additions to the cast. And Billy Crudup provided his fair share of funny moments, as the creepy new neighbor. The Watch features a nice set of entertaining, oddball characters, and everyone delivered an enjoyable performance here.

The Watch isn’t a horrible film, but I do have a few complaints. At first, The Watch feels like something different. You’ll see a few twists and turns, and hell, the story actually feels mysterious at times. But The Watch quickly devolves into your typical foul-mouthed, R-rated mainstream comedy, and it’s a real disappointment. They just had to throw in some random orgy scene. I guess this was an excuse for showing a few quick glimpses of sex and tits, but this particular scene didn’t do anything for me. The Watch squanders a unique and intriguing premise for the sake of being your usual Hollywood R-rated comedy. Although, the vulgar stuff didn’t surprise me too much, because Seth Rogen is one of the writers for this film. Still, The Watch could’ve been something special, but in the end, they just settled for an average R-rated comedy.

When it comes to Akiva Schaffer’s directing, I have no complaints. His vision wasn’t anything special, but Schaffer’s work behind the camera didn’t hurt this film.

The Watch is more than capable of providing some good laughs. The humor is fairly consistent, and the entire cast is fantastic. But I couldn’t understand the tamed approach towards the gore and violence here. After all, this is an R-rated film, so why not go all the way? The Watch won’t set the bar for sci-fi comedies, and this is one of the more forgettable films in 2012, but you can still have a good time with this one.

Final Rating: 5/10

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