When a security guard is found skinned alive at a Costco, the store’s manager Evan (Ben Stiller) vows to find his employee’s killer. To get the job done he starts a Neighborhood Watch with three misfit volunteers.
• Richard: 2/5
• Mark: 1/5
Richard: Mark, The Watch mixes and matches an alien invasion story with a police procedural story and comedy in the same way that it throws together its three over the title stars, Stiller, Hill and Vaughn. That is to say, sloppily. It hopes to win audiences by giving them a little of everything, but feels like the cinematic equivalent of an unmade bed. Luckily newcomer (to us anyway) Richard Ayoade spices things up.
Mark: Richard, I didn’t even like this movie when it was called Ghostbusters. And that movie had an iconic cast and was very much of its moment. But this flick feels so ripped off that even the colour of the slime is the same. Yes, Ayoade is good, and I hope to see him in a better movie soon. And Vince Vaughan can’t help but be funny. But you’re right about the sloppiness of the whole enterprise. Every scene and every character has a different tone, resulting in a tone-deaf comedy. I don’t think I laughed once.
RC: I liked this more than you think. I laughed, but the giggles didn’t come as the result of a well-crafted script or an intelligent diction. They come because this crew of veterans knows how to suck a laugh out of almost anything. Vaughn made me laugh here and there, but his fast-talking act wore thin for me a long time ago. Ditto Stiller and Hill and their trademarks. I was happy to have a breath of fresh air in the form of Ayoade.
MB: Yes, we’re dealing with comedy pros here. The acting isn’t the problem. The script — even the idea of the script — is. This wheezy contraption felt completely fake, especially at the end when the movie turns violent. I mean, come on, is anyone in the theatre supposed to be scared of the aliens? Or care about the “heroes?” This is Hollywood committee writing at its worst, Richard, and you know it!
RC: I agree, but if you go in like I did, with low to no expectations, you’ll laugh occasionally. Not loudly, and not often, but you’ll laugh. If it is alien comedy that you’re after, however, you may be better off renting Paul, starring Nick Frost, Simon Pegg and a foul mouthed ET.
MB: Or Galaxy Quest or even Earth Girls are Easy.