Comedy premise falls flat; plus disappointing ‘Beasts of the Southern Wild.’
When an R-rated comedy full of scatological references falls down completely, those sexually suggestive attempts at humor seem particularly painful and ugly.
The Watch already had a strike against it before it was released. Originally titled Neighborhood Watch, that title was abandoned after the shooting death in Florida of a 17-year-old by an over-zealous neighborhood watch member.
This movie is so stupid and useless, it didn’t for a moment reflect on any behavior that seemed remotely plausible. While comedies that rely on physical humor are supposed to exaggerate normal human behavior, The Watch failed to provide any remote hint of what real people might do in the failed comedic circumstances created by director Akiva Shaffer and writers Jared Stern, Seth Rogan and Evan Goldberg.
The premise revolves around Evan (Ben Stiller), a manager at Costco, who organizes a neighborhood watch when a guard at the store is brutally murdered. His recruits are two whack jobs, Bob (Vince Vaughn) and Franklin (Jonah Hill), plus the relatively sane Jamarcus (Richard Ayoade). The former just want to hang out and drink beer, while Jamarcus wants a sexual fantasy fulfilled.
The Watch then eventually veers into sci-fi territory when the foursome uncovers an alien invasion taking place in their quiet Ohio town. While hilarity is supposed to ensue, what we get instead is bad sci-fi mixed with bad comedy and a Guinness World Record for the number of times the male anatomy is mentioned in a single movie.
With comedic actors of this caliber trying to make it work, the cringe-worthy factor spins out of control. At least Rogan (who was funny in the sci-fi comedy Paul) was wise enough to just write this dreck and not act in it.
In conclusion, The Watch is about as funny as a kick to the balls ... over and over again.
I’ve been a crafty film critic over the decades, which means I have learned to avoid movies that look horrible in the coming attractions. Of course some movies featuring major stars and high profiles simply can’t be avoided.
With Matt Damon passing on the chance to continue as memory-challenged super spy Jason Bourne, the franchise went in a new direction with two-time Oscar nominee Jeremy Renner (The Hurt Locker, The Town, The Avengers).