What could possibly be funnier then a movie staring Vince Vaughn, Ben Stiller, Jonah Hill, and Richard Ayoade? It’s probably one of the funnier group of comedic actors that Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg (writers along with Jared Stern) could come up with in Hollywood today. This, as one would think, had the potential to be a “dream team” to have in a comedy. Maybe it would have worked if it was just a comedy. However, the sci-fi element seems to be too much to balance with and it makes the poor decisions throughout the movie and results in The Watch being an epic fail of a sci-fi comedy.
Let us start off with the plot, if you can call it that. Evan (Stiller) decides that after a murder of his friend, a security guard and newly minted U.S. citizen that is killed in his store, that he must find the killer that did this. Since he is a big in the community in forming clubs, he decides that he must again take matters into his own hands and form a neighborhood watch. Stiller makes a very weak emotional plea at the high school football game where almost everyone in the stands is booing him off the field. Despite all of this, he manages to win a few choice people over in his quest for justice. This is where Franklin (Hill), Bob (Vaughn), and Jamarcus (Ayoade) all show up. The three of them are more focused on drinking, partying, and pardon my french, but getting their balls sucked, as opposed to Evan’s mission of finding the killer.
So anyway, as they start “The Watch”, after a night of eggs being thrown at them and a crazy old man pointing a shotgun and counting to ten on them, they realize that they are dealing with aliens. Yes, aliens are invading a small local town in Ohio and are involved in the killing the security guard in Costco. Sounds kind of stupid right? All this is going on while Vaughn is trying to protect and be overbearing on his teenage daughter, while Stiller is trying to juggle his wife’s longing to have a child and his seemingly unrealistic desire to not want to have sex with her. A new neighbor (Billy Crudup) moves into Evan’s neighborhood and it seems he might be the guy he is looking for because all is not what it seems. The subplots come off as filler to add in random hilarity but really does not drive the plot at all.
First, let us start off with the cast. I thought they did a servicable job despite not having much to work with. With Stiller and Vaughn, one would think it was reuniting the frat pack that was so dominant in the last decade and that would make the movie. However, with little to do other than spout one liners from a weak script (maybe Rogen and Goldberg, responsible for Superbad and Pineapple Express, just got bored and threw in pockets of dialogue without fixing any of the real flaws of Stern’s script), they are reduced to just playing off each other for minutes at a time which feels like actors bullshitting in order to show off their improv skills. Which is fine because those can result in great moments but it just comes off as lazy and sometimes boring filler by the time you get towards the end. The improv bits just are they to hide the plot holes with their bits of comedy and weak exposition that is thrown in to keep the movie moving at a brisk pace. Yes, you are using the cast to drive the story but if the story is crap, you are just having actors spit balling hoping to grab people’s attention in the audience with what little they have to support the backbone of the movie.
To me, it just seems like they tried to do too much here. First, they wanted the comedy. Second, they wanted the sci-fi flick. They try to make the alien invasion be the primary plot with all these secondary comedic stories. In the end, the movie is about a group of four pretty much nobodies, drinking beer and hanging out, just to get out of the house or get out of some responsibilities. The primary plot of the alien invasion never really gets a chance to lift off because you almost forget that there are aliens even in the movie. They cut away from the invasion so frequently and for so long that the secondary plots just steals from the whole movie. There is no point other than to show off cheap laughs and extremely poor character development. Akiva Schaffer, one third of the duo The Lonely Island, directed this movie and Hot Rod was great with all of its randomness but this just feels so disjointed and I wanted that same energy in that movie to be translated into this one. At least the Lonely Island do make a cameo on screen so they do get their say of randomness in. Of course, what makes the movie even worse and that much more unrealistic is when Ben Stiller turns down having sex with Rosemarie DeWitt, when she was wearing an astonishing lingerie outfit that would have any guy melting at the knees regardless of whether killer aliens exist or not.
Overall, I expected much more from this group of actors and writers. When I walked into the theater tonight, I did not have any idea what direction the movie was going to go, all I knew was who was in it. Normally just a cast is not enough to get me to see a movie and this is the perfect example why. It’s like having the best stacked fantasy football team with all the best players, and then you go 0-16 in the season. These guys need to go back to the drawing board and let this one go, and quick.
Just because I am not mean and my editor C Tan insists [Editor’s Note: You’re welcome.], here’s a picture of Erin Moriarty, who plays Vince Vaughn’s daughter in the movie, mostly because we can’t find the one pic of Rosemarie Dewitt in the lingerie so this will have to suffice.