November 18, 2012

Filthy Review - 'The Watch'

The Watch (2012)

Review by Jude Felton

On paper, director Akiva Schaffer’s The Watch has all the right ingredients to be a right royal festival of laughs. The film is co-written by Seth Rogan and stars Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, Jonah Hill and Richard Ayoade (who directed the wonderful Submarine); all of whom have turned in some wonderfully funny turns in their careers. Granted, Stiller has gone off the boil of late and Vaughn seems to play the same role in virtually every film he is in, which fortunately is a funny role, but still this should have been a far better movie than it was.

The plot follows Evan (Stiller), a man who works as a manager at a Costco and spends all his free time creating various clubs to run, in order to hide away the fact that he is unable to impregnate his wife. One night, after closing up the store, the night security guard, Antonio, is butchered by an unseen assailant. This spurs Evan on to create a neighborhood watch group, which ends up only being attended by Bob (Vaughn), Franklin (Hill) and Jamarcus (Ayoade).

Aside from Evan, the other three members just view this group as an excuse to bond as males and drink beer. Everyone else, not associated with the group, just views them as a joke. Evan, however, is determined to get to the bottom of Antonio’s murder. What he, and the others, do not expect is to come face to face with a pending alien invasion. Yes, I shit you not my friends.

Throughout the movie we are subjected to a barrage of jokes, of varying humorous content, which usually involve some sort of bodily function. Some of the jokes are absolutely hilarious, and I did end up laughing out loud at these, and some just seem to be there, serving only to induce a mild chuckle.

R. Lee Ermey does pop up, very briefly, to deliver some hilarity as only he can by playing a variation on previous roles he has performed, and personally I would have liked to have seen more of him, but on the whole the jokes were a real mixed bag (of balls). Where I was moderately surprised was by the fact that there is a fair amount of gore later on, when the aliens start to kick ass; trying to stuff a heart back into a chest cavity, anyone? There is plenty of claret here that is for sure.

I wouldn’t necessarily say that The Watch was a bad movie, but it just didn’t gel throughout its running time. It’s a hit and affair, where when it is funny it is very funny, but on the flipside there are moments where I was just disinterested in what was going on. A friend described it as Attack the Block mixed with bad 90s' sketch comedy and cum jokes, which in all honesty is a pretty assessment of the film. I would also add in The 40 Year Old Virgin and pretty much every other Judd Apatow movie made, along with a blend of almost everything else the lead cast has starred in, just with aliens, gore and green cum. It has that ‘feel’ to it, and it’s a feeling that runs throughout the film.

On the technical side of things I would say that there were some cool, if unspectacular, effects on display, and the grislier moments were very well done. There did seem to be an overuse of 90s' gangster rap, which isn’t too bad, but I don’t need to hear Eazy E, Snoop and N.W.A. every 5 minutes. Okay, so I might be exaggerating, but there is a fair amount of it.

The Watch, on Blu-ray, does look and sound pretty damned good, with nice definition to the visuals and a good, crisp and clean audio, and there are a few extras included.

Overall though I just didn’t feel pumped throughout the film, and was fairly glad when it drew to a close. Sure, I did laugh in places at the funnier moments, but the film as a whole felt a bit disjointed and the cast pretty much played roles we have all seen them in before. I recommend as a rental, but as a purchase probably only to die-hard fans of the stars of the film. The Watch wasn't bad, but I had hoped for far more.

The Watch is available now on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment.

No comments: