Friday, July 27, 2012
Frat Packers Ben Stiller and Vince Vaughn team up once again and add Jonah Hill and newcomer Richard Ayoade to the mix, to form a neighborhood watch to help keep their 'hood safe from a killer on the loose, after one of Stiller's employees at Costco is mysteriously and brutally murdered. Sounds funny, right? Despite the cast, don't expect the zaniness of a 'Dodgeball', 'Zoolander', or 'Anchorman'. This one's closer to a creepier and dirtier 'Night at the Museum'. And that's a peculiar hybrid. It's hard to tell who the target audience is here. It's way too creepy and dirty for young kids, but not creepy or dirty enough for us creepy, dirty adults. (We know who we are.)
Originally entitled 'Neighborhood Watch', the title was later shortened to 'The Watch' to distance themselves from the Trayvon Martin / George Zimmerman incident in Florida a few months back, as if removing that one word really makes a difference. Of course it matters not. That's just Hollywood PR silliness. What does matter here is the quality of the film, or lack thereof. The script is surprisingly weak and awkwardly unfunny particularly in the first half, but this is somewhat offset by the likeability of its cast. It's a vaguely pleasant ride if you allow it to be, but it's also completely uninspired and unnecessary. And don't wait for those to-be-expected cameos of fellow Frat Packers Owen Wilson and Will Ferrell. They don't come. And that's surprising but it's not the most unbelievable thing about the film. Despite the many ridiculous plot points, nothing is more unbelievable about it than the idea that Ben Stiller's character could afford his particular house in his picture perfect neighborhood on the salary of a Costco manager. Really? That I'm not buying.