Let’s face it. Ben Stiller and Vince Vaughn aren’t getting any younger and both are in serious need of a hit. Their collective dry spell is a bit overlong and both are capable comedians…but their guaranteed shtick gets a bit tiresome. One talks too much and too fast and the other one’s improv leaves a lot to be desired at times.
Well, am I wrong?
Thankfully, the Stiller/Vaughn combo can be salvaged if you throw in a little fresh comedic blood and a fun (but silly) script into the recipe. The Watch is what happens when you mix old school 1980’s geeked-out charm with jokes that will offend anyone with the faintest of old-timey sensibilities.
Boys will be boys…especially when faced with the threat of aliens. The Watch, directed by Akiva Schaffer (Hot Rod), is sure-footed in its science fiction premise of an alien invasion by way of Costco. Written by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, it never bats an eye at its whole alien aspect. In fact, it embraces it. It’s a good thing, too. The writers of Superbad and Pineapple Express know exactly what they are doing: entertaining stoners and geeks.
Staying on point with its R-rating, the comedy stars Stiller, Vaughn, Jonah Hill and scene-stealer Richard Ayoade as an unlikely gang of do-gooders who band together after a Costco employee is gutted and smeared with some green goo. Their mission? Save whitewashed town of Glenview from itself and pretty much do the job a couple of bozo cops - Will Forte and Mel Rodriguez – can’t seem to complete.
Alien invaders are the last thing this group of misfits is expecting. Maybe even audiences, but – rest assured – hilarity ensues as the boys weave in and out of each other’s lives expecting aliens at every corner both inside and outside of the neighborhood Costco. Yes, it is creative, goofy, and tasteless. It also has a wee bit of a domesticated heart. Stiller plays it casually straight (he’s a control freak, sure) this time as a husband struggling with pleasing his wife and his neighborhood and the ever over-talkative Vaughn as a concerned facebook-watching father on the lookout for his teenage daughter.
This leaves Hill and Ayoade to steal the show and they certainly deliver the laughs. Perhaps the freshest being Ayoade as the soft-spoken friend with the dynamite mouth; you never know what he is going to say, but you know you are going to laugh…a lot. Vaughn and Stiller up the ante a bit and improve on their own timing skills, but sometimes fail to land what could have been some solid laughs.
The gun-violence is completely over-the-top and hysterical and proof that in spite of this gun debate we are having, America will never give up its guns. Even the alien effects are solid and downright spooky at times. The gang goes all in with this feature and that is certainly to be commended. If only Schaffer could deliver a bit more on the sincere aspects of the script you might have something a bit more than just a flakey comedy. Those nuggets are buried there in the script, but relatively unmined. The Watch is marginally meandering, but it’s all in good fun; there’s not a harmful hair on this beast which makes it all the more entertaining.
The Watch is not unlike downing five or six or seven of the coldest and lightest of beers with friends: really fun times with absolutely no taste.
MPAA Rating: R for some strong sexual content including references, pervasive language and violent images.
Runtime: 102 mins.
Director: Akiva Schaffer
Writer: Jared Stern and Seth Rogen & Evan Goldberg
Cast: Ben Stiller; Vince Vaughn; Jonah Hill; Will Forte; Rosemarie DeWitt
Tagline: The Watch
Memorable Movie Quote: "Haven't you just won a Nickelodeon Kid's choice award."
Distributor: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
Release Date: July 27, 2012
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date: November 13, 2012
Synopsis: The Watch is about a suburban "neighborhood watch" group that serves as a front for dads to get some male-bonding time away from their families. The group finds itself in over its head when it uncovers a plot to destroy the world. .
Available on Blu-ray - November 13, 2012
Screen Formats: 2.35:1
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Arabic, Bulgarian, Cantonese, Croatian, Czech, Estonian, Greek, Hebrew, Hungarian, Icelandic, Indonesian, Korean, Latvian, Lithuanian, Malay, Mandarin (Traditional), Polish, Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Slovenian, Turkish, Ukrainian, Vietnamese
Audio: English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; French: Dolby Digital 5.1; Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1; Portuguese: Dolby Digital 5.1; Russian: DTS 5.1; Czech: Dolby Digital 5.1; Hungarian: Dolby Digital 5.1; Polish: Dolby Digital 5.1; Turkish: Dolby Digital 5.1; Ukrainian: Dolby Digital 5.1
Discs: 50GB Blu-ray Disc; Two-disc set (1 BD, 1 DVD); UV digital copy; DVD copy; BD-Live
Region Encoding: A.B
The Watch is armed with a nice-looking 1080p/AVC encode to protect the neighborhood from. The resulting image maintains a glossy sheen that is consistently sharp. Shot digitally, the movie’s filmic look (which probably comes from its low budget) will surprise audiences. Black levels are strong and colors absolutely pop without surrendering their edges to dark sequences. As noted, the high level of cleanness in the transfer offers a picture that is layered with fine definition throughout. The lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track might not have the impact of your traditional sci-fi release but, then again, this isn’t your traditional genre offering. Dialogue is clear and gunplay is powerful. Aliens scatter in the far banks of the rear speakers. And explosions rock the woofers.
God, there is nothing special to be found here. At all. It’s all basic, basic, basic and then some. You get your sneak peeks, twelve fairly forgettable deleted scenes, a pretty solid gag reel (that might make you laugh harder than the actual movie), some alternate takes, the typical making of featurette, and a couple of random thoughts on an alien invasion from the cast.
The Special Features are entertaining, light-hearted and simply fun. They are as follows:
- Twelve Deleted Scenes (24 min)
- Gag Reel (4 min)
- Jonah Alternate Takes (5 min)
- Watchmakers (12 min)
- Alien Invasions and You (2 min)
- Casting the Alien (5 min)
- Theatrical Trailer
- Sneak Peeks