Worthless ‘Watch’

Comedy premise falls flat; plus disappointing 
‘Beasts of the Southern Wild.’

By Lori Hoffman

Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 5 | Posted Aug. 1, 2012

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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.

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Comments 1 - 5 of 5
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1. Anonymous said... on Aug 8, 2012 at 02:02PM

“I think you didn't understand the plot to Beasts of the Southern Wild. It wasn't about how "we" treat our poor people, in fact what I enjoyed most about it was how it had very little to do with our society. It was a story about a community of, literally, wild people.
What you said about the father being and angry drunk that just hits his kid sometimes, that was very ignorant and misleading. The whole community of The Bathtub had great, and realistic, characters, but Hushpuppy's daddy was in my opinion the best. He had so many layers and so many problems that I couldn't altogether like him or hate him. He was a key component to the story and you've written about him like a background character.
Beasts of the Southern was a great, fantasy story, it was like a backwoods fairy tale almost. And, I'm sorry to say, but yes it did have a cohesive plot. Everything that happened, happened for a reason. This movie touched me emotionally, maybe you should give it another shot.”

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2. Elsa said... on Aug 9, 2012 at 03:30AM

“A colleague of mine also commented on the relationship between Hushpuppy and her father, saying she didn't like the way the director portrayed black fathers as angry and violent. While this film takes in to consideration class, race, and poverty, it aims to take a very personal perspective on an individual community. The screenwriting does a spectacular job of creating complex characters who ache, love, and struggle -- the father is an especially rich character.

I wonder if, perhaps, your own concern and guilt for how we treat our poor people tainted your experience of this film, misguiding your own focus -- not the film's focus.”

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3. Ms. Brookie said... on Aug 12, 2012 at 05:15PM

“No, I think this critic said it very well about how awful this movie was. I'm just that there went $9.00 and two hours of my life that I will never get back and I regret wasting both on this. I'm tired of white film directors and white producers thinking that they can make some kind of magical realism aesthetic out of romanticizingthe struggle of poverty stricken, illiterate poor black people. This was a bad case of Cormac McCarthy, Tennessee Williams and Ernest Gaines visiting the swamp lands of Louisiana after Hurrican Katrina. And I'm beginning to wonder about the criteria for inclusion at Sundance after this.”

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4. Anonymous said... on Aug 21, 2012 at 02:55PM

“Ms. Brookie expresses a super critical and accurate form of cynicism and skepticism. Benh Zeitlin has the heritage of a NY hipster artist and his lack of true depth is revealed in this film. The lack of depth in the rest of us is revealed in being suckered into the whole "feel goodness" of it all.”

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5. Anonymous said... on Sep 12, 2012 at 03:56PM

“Lori, you only used the word 'cohesive' in your review because you heard it in the movie. You don't know it otherwise.”


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