I made the mistake of watching the red-band (rated R) trailer for The Watch before the regular trailer, and due to its content I had very low expectations going in to the movie. Save for a few funny one-liners here and there, the movie failed to beat my expectations and was one of the more bizarre movies I’ve seen in the theater lately.
Evan (Ben Stiller, Tower Heist) is the manager of a local Costco in his small Ohio town. One night, he says goodbye to Antonio (Joe Nunez, Free Samples), the night watchman at Costco, and when Evan returns the next morning, he finds tons of cops swarming the building; someone had murdered Antonio during his shift. Evan decides to start the Neighborhood Watch, and he gets a diverse group of guys to sign up for it: Bob (Vince Vaughn, The Dilemma), who is looking for a group of “bros” to hang out with; Franklin (Jonah Hill, 21 Jump Street), a police academy reject who is looking to join a “vigilante squad,” as he puts it; and Jamarcus (Richard Ayoade, Bunny and the Bull), a very polite guy with a British accent looking to make friends. The four of them must patrol the neighborhood for anything that looks suspicious, and Evan wants to try solving the mystery of Antonio’s murder as well.
Jonah Hill had the best one-liners in the film, but Ben Stiller had a few great ones too. The plot turns sci-fi when the Neighborhood Watch figures out that it was an alien that killed Antonio and a few others, and that their home base is Costco; when Evan and the gang decide to invade Costco to kill the aliens who have invaded their turf, Evan declares that “Costco is for members only!” I loved all of the Costco references but unfortunately the movie was sluggish in some parts and just not funny in others. Although Vince Vaughn is a funny guy, he hasn’t really had a hit movie since Wedding Crashers in 2005, and Ben Stiller’s movies haven’t done that well either; I was surprised to see Jonah Hill lumped in with this cast since he’s been very successful with his movies at the box office lately. I had never heard of Richard Ayoade before this film either, but he directed the indie film Submarine (2011) and is also the director of The Double, currently filming.
Maybe see this film. It played out more like a ’70s or ’80s cheesy horror film, in that it’s really more of a comedy than horror film – the aliens are just a backdrop to the one-liners throughout. Although I did laugh at a few of the one-liners, most of the movie wasn’t that funny, in my opinion, even with the star-studded cast they have assembled for it. If you’re a Stiller/Vaughn/Hill fan, you might like this film, but I think that you’ll find that Hill’s 21 Jump Street or Stiller’s Tower Heist are more cohesive films overall and a better choice over The Watch.
The Watch is in theaters today, July 27, and is rated R with a runtime of 100 minutes.
Rating: 2.5 stars out of 5