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I went away for New Years with some friends, and on the 1st January we spent the day lying around in our rented house watching films and eating crisps. One film that a friend chose and put on was The Watch. I'd heard of it before and was interested in seeing it as I love Richard Ayoade and wanted to see his outing into the Hollywood scene!
Director -Akiva Schaffer
Running time - 102 minutes
Certificate - 15
Ben Stiller plays the main character Evan, who is a manager at the local Costco store. When a member of his staff is murdered after closing time in the Costco store, he starts a Neighbourhood Watch scheme to protect the general public. Vaughn, Hill and Ayoade all play characters who join the Neighbourhood watch scheme for various reasons. Vaughn plays Bob, a blokey-bloke who sees the neighbourhood watch as a way to hang out with some other guys and drink beer, Hill plays a slightly psychotic man who always wanted to join this police but wasn't considered mentally fit, and Ayoade plays Jamarcus, a new guy to the neighbourhood who wants to meet new people and protect the community.
There are also numerous subplots including Bob keeping an eye on his teenage daughter who is going to parties and discovering boys, Evan and his wife who are trying to have children and a creepy neighbour who seems very interested in Evan. There is also a supernatural element to the story but I don't want to spoil anything!
For a hungover brain-off movie this was alright. It was a bit funny but not as funny as it thinks. The acting was alright, but these are some top Hollywood actors so you would hope so! For me there were too many subplots and it felt a bit cluttered, but it did all come together in the end. This film felt very 'blokey' - there were lots of guns, scenes with explosions and the main characters strutting away from explosions in slow motion.
Overall the film was passable but I wouldn't watch it again. I was disappointed as I usually love Richard Ayoade and I was chuffed that he was cast in such a big Hollywood film, I liked him in the film but I'm not sure if his geeky awkwardness would appeal to an American audience. If you need a film that's going to be fairly mindless for an hour or two this isn't bad, but it's not particularly memorable and I probably wouldn't watch it again
I'm generally a fan of anything these guys touch: Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, Jonah Hill. There were a string of puerile comedies with these actors and others at the helm over the past decade or so that have been brilliant, just what I've wanted. I know I'm never going to get amazing deep plot development or a moving drama, but I like watching immature comedy from time to time.
The problem with this film is how far it takes things from time to time. It also features The IT Crowd's Richard Ayoade, and these four men form a Neighbourhood Watch when a night security guard at the local Costco is murdered with no leads. There's little else to say about the plot, to be honest, other than we know from very earlier on that we're dealing with aliens of some sort here.
Instantly, I wasn't so sure about this. I'd seen Paul (sci-fi comedy with Nick Frost and Simon Pegg) and it was really funny, so I figured they'd do something on a similar level here...only they didn't. There are some comedy genius moments, a lot of them seemingly ad libbed by the cast, but the general plot direction all too often descends into sexually offensive language and suggestions. There's comedy, and then there's making your audience feel awkward. With Sacha Baron Cohen's style of comedy, you expect to be shocked to some extent, but with these guys, what you're looking for is a comedy film that is ultimately harmless if a touch risque at times.
Stiller plays the Costco manager, Vaughn the construction manager with the foul mouth, Hill the deviant (but also the funniest), and Ayoade the awkward British geeky sort of guy. The four of them together actually works really well, and are quite well supported by the rest of the cast, even though these four pretty much dominate the screen and don't let anyone else get a look in edgeways. When we finally see the aliens, there's some familiarity in their movements, special effects maestro Doug Jones donning the suit to display his expertise at fantasy characters. The special effects work very well, and the over the top macho hero stuff fits very well with it as well. In fact, if you take out the dozen or so moments where it goes too far, then this would be a very good film.
I laughed a few times, as the main characters as well as the support are more than adept at the roles they are cast in. It's full of misfits and overconfident law enforcement types, some cleverly written scenes and a few red herrings. They've toned down the dramatic elements you sometimes get with films like this, with only a couple of the characters having sub plots intrinsic to the plot. Everything flows nicely, and the actors are pretty much playing characters you'd expect them to play in other films too.
Overall then, it's an okay film that just takes it too far too often. Were it not for this, I'd recommend it, but my lasting impression was with actors getting carried away with ad libbing and the editor and director not cutting enough onto the cutting room floor. Overdoes it on the offensive comedy and this spoils the film for me.
***Film Only Review***
I was having a really lazy day today, and regardless of the brilliant weather I literally bummed it out and stayed in pyjamas all day! Between online (window) shopping I also found time to sit down and watch this film. I always like a bit of comedy and had seen this on Sky Movies and was really drawn by Richard Ayoade who I find HILAROUS in the IT Crowd so decided to give it a watch...how bad could it be?
Ben Stiller plays Evan Trautwig who is the manager of a Costco store who is a philanthropic guy starting a running club, spanish for the elderly etc. One night he leaves his store, and the night security guy Antonio is patrolling around, having good time as he just got his American citizenship when things begin to go bump in the night and we see something attack him. Next morning his body is found and concerned Evan (Stiller) goes to a football game to recruit new people for Neighbourhood watch as the police in this small town are incompetent. The only people willing and who turn up are Bob (Vince Vaughn), Jamarcus (Richard Ayoade who plays Moss in IT Crowd) and Franklin (Jonah Hill). As a bunch of dimwits they go on the hunt for the killer but make a discovery which leads them to believe in an alien takeover - onset lots of dimwitted moments of them trying to protect their fellow neighbours.
I thought the story line was a bit more original than some of Stiller's other films and for this I found it quite enjoyable. The pace of the film was quite quick and not too much padding, getting to the jist of the film quite quickly which I appreciated. It of course is a Science fiction comedy and is not at all realistic but it didn't come across as hugely unbelievable and ludicrous that it was too far fetched to comprehend. At some parts the film was a bit predictable but it was an ok way to pass the day!
Stiller is his usual self, taking himself quite seriously and portraying more dry humour than being purposely funny. Vince Vaughn is enjoyable to watch as a dad who really only joined the club to escape once a week from the wife and kid and have a beer and a laugh with some guys. He is over protective of his daughter and sometimes forgets his role in the "neighbourhood watch" but he's funny as a big oaf.
Richard Ayoade is really underplayed in this film and I was a bit disappointed he didn't have as much airtime and lines but the ones he did were quite comical, although I have seen him be much funnier in IT Crowd. To watch it just for him in hindsight was a waste of time, but Jonah Hill really did save the film from being a snoozefest!
Hill plays Franklin, a dropout from high school who wants to be a police officer but failed all the relevant tests. He is absolutely HILARIOUS and is rude as ever but he was the only character to actually make me laugh out loud at any point.
The film was a good watch, and certainly not the worst Ben Stiller film I've seen by a clear mile. It is mildly funny here and there and is mainly saved by Jonah Hill so I would recommend it to fans of his. Overall I'd have to give it an average 3 stars.
I came across this on Amazon and vaguely remember seeing it advertised before at the cinema I think. I didn't know much about it but from the cast alone I could tell it was a comedy. Not wanting to know too much, I failed to read the blurb and then wished I had when I found this delved in to the realm of neighbourhood alien watching. Can't say it's one I'd really recommend as I found it rather difficult to watch at times, but fans of certain cast members may still enjoy it nonetheless for being a bit of mindless fun.
The Watch was directed by Akiva Schaffer who has worked on a few things but mostly short / TV pieces, so this is probably his first big release. I say big, but I think this film flopped more than it succeeded unfortunately. We're introduced to Evan, a Costco manager in Glenview, Ohio, who is happily married in his little slice of suburbia to his wife Abby. His quiet life is disrupted, however, when the store's night watchman Antonio is murdered, and murdered horrifically at that. It's suspicious and almost inhuman, and spurs Evan to charge where the police won't to protect the neighbourhood and bring justice to Antonio's murderer.
And thus 'The Watch' is formed. Consisting of four suburban neighbours, the guys group together at one or another's house and plan their watch tactic. Franklin, Jamarcus, Bob and Evan himself create their own symbol and jackets to match their rather immature and inexperienced roles as protectors and mystery solvers. But they soon discover the face of the killer, and it's none other than an alien (sigh)! With their lives and the planet now threatened as it becomes clear the aliens want to take over the world, potentially starting their takeover in Glenview's Costco, the group have got to pull their socks up if they're going to become heroes.
I won't say any more on the premise, and that's pretty much what is in the blurb, but as the film continues it's a question of whether they can get to the bottom of what's going on and stop further alien-related catastrophe before it's too late. The plot wasn't something that particularly interested me because it seemed to unbelievable in a slapstick way almost, too immature to be properly funny. Aliens in films is a hard one to do well anyway in my opinion, and there aren't many alien films I like. Men In Black did the comedy take quite well, and in comparison The Watch falls flat because it doesn't offer anything too new, anything that stands out, anything that's cutting and quirky.
The cast included Ben Stiller (Evan), Jonah Hill (Franklin), Richard Ayoade (from The IT Crowd, playing Jamarcus) and Vince Vaughn (Bob) as the main players amongst others. As far as casting goes, the main players are all fairly big, popular names, giving the film credibility. I find Stiller to be a bit hit and miss so I'm not his biggest fan, but I do enjoy a bit of Jonah Hill to lighten things up a bit. Vaughn is as ever and what I had expected, so he was fairly easy to watch. Ayoade, however, was more irritating than anything. He was designed to stick out as the English, awkward nerd guy but rather than being stereotypical and funny with it, I found his role pretty lacklustre.
The cast weren't helped by the script, which left much to be desired at times. As I said before, the comedy element wasn't really cutting or memorable and that was in part due to the jokes being quite immature and not hard-hitting. I can see that some might like that and it does make for quite mindless viewing, but I prefer something a little different. I didn't find the script or cast to keep me on my toes and there wasn't really anything that stuck in my mind afterwards. I didn't go away and think 'I'll tell someone about this bit...' or recommend they watch this because... For me, the film wasn't that memorable and it seemed to fall flat by trying too hard to be funny. The use of Costco as the alien takeover station could have been amusing, as could the watch themselves in their silly get-up, but I just found it quite over the top silly rather than actually funny.
On the DVD cover it reads 'Caution: Ruder, cruder & lewder', along with the snippet review quote 'Had me laughing lewdly'. I can't say I really laughed at this and in fact found it quite difficult to watch because it didn't capture my attention too well. Admittedly there were points where it was entertaining, but they were few and far between for a film lasting 102 minutes, and most of my enjoyment came from watching Jonah Hill.
Unfortunately this isn't one I'd really recommend, unless perhaps it comes on TV and there's not much else on. It's light-hearted enough for mindless viewing but I didn't find it particularly engaging, funny or witty.
DVD released 2012, running time 102 minutes, rated Certificate 15
Selling on Amazon for £13.49
The Watch 
Released: 2012, Run-time: 102 minutes, Genre: Science Fiction, Comedy.
Film only review.
When Antonio Guzman (Joe Nunez) is brutally murdered his friend, boss and all-round-good-guy Evan (Ben Stiller) sets up the neighbourhood watch in a bid to hunt down and track his friends killer. Can Evan, Jamarcus (Richard Ayoade), Franklin (Jonah Hill) and Bob (Vince Vaughn) bring peace to the troubled neighbourhood? Can they avenge Antonio's death? And more importantly can they prevent the goo dribbling, flesh stealing aliens from taking over Costco and the world???
Right, well, that all sounds a bit ridiculous doesn't it! It is ridiculous, that's kind of the point. The film takes the ancient science fiction film plot of 'aliens taking over the world' and rips it to shreds. The cringey unrealistic moments of science fiction films are put to great use in this film and create great comedic scenes. This film is a laugh-a-minute parody of the science fiction genre but it isn't just about making you laugh. I ended up seriously involved in the plot and had a lot of fun trying to guess who the aliens among us were and whilst I had a few inklings, the film kept me guessing. It is well written, funny and has a stellar comedy cast.
Ben Stiller as main man Evan puts in a very 'Stiller-esque' performance, it's good but it's no Zoolander. It's a very respectable comedy performance but not one of his funniest. Vince Vaughn puts in an equally respectable performance, he plays his character with great enthusiasm. I loved the character of Jamarcus. I only have to look at Richard Ayoade and I'm laughing. I adore everything about him, his awkward, geeky, British-ness had me hooked from the beginning. His characters name Jamarcus was enough to get me giggling. He was Jah-mazing (sorry!). Jonah Hill came out of this film really well, he wasn't someone I had really enjoyed watching in films, previously he had come across as a little over the top but in this film I thoroughly enjoyed his performance. He came across as lovable and a little psychotic at the same time. The best performance goes to Will Forte as the crackpot local policeman Sgt. Bressman. He was hilarious.
It has to be said that I'm not really a silly comedy type of gal but this film impressed me. I can remember seeing the trailers and thinking, generic, boring, unfunny. I was wrong, the trailer massively undersells this film, which surprises me based on the cast, I would have thought this comedy gem would have been well plugged. It's an easy watch, great to sit down and unwind to, it's not taxing and has just the right about of storyline. Yes, it's stereotypical at times but that's the point and as far as a comedy goes, if it's making me laugh that's all that matters.
The film is primarily a comedy but the aliens and the alien technology have been well thought out and the soundtrack will have you singing along. There are explosions, fights and punch ups. The language and the sexual references earn this film it's 15 certificate but I didn't find anything to be in bad taste, I found all the references relevant to the humour.
Overall I feel that this is a hidden gem of a film. It will probably go unseen by many as unlike most comedy films, it didn't show the funniest parts in the trailer and so many may not remember this or think its not that funny but it surprised me and I really enjoyed it, so much it will probably be purchased on dvd, placed alongside role models and be re-watched when I need a pick me up.
Im going to be a little bit biased here as I am quite an old school fan of Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn and more of a new school fan of Jonah Hill since Superbad. Heck Im even a fan of Richard Ayoade from the IT crowd. I am not however one of those fans that just loves a movie cause it has actors I like, I do know this has been panned by critics and got poor reviews but just a warning in advance of my slight bias.
After one of his employees gets murdered, the store manager puts together a neighbourhood watch team to protect the neighbourhood from any danger. However all is not as it seems and they must in fact protect the world from an alien invasion.
Ben Stiller - Evan
Vince Vaughn - Bob
Jonah Hill - Franklin
Richard Ayoade - Jamarcus
It seems that there are a lot of movies at the minute about aliens attacking Earth so I guess it isn't exactly too surprising a plot line, but the focus here is more on the interplay between the main characters. The film seems to hit the ground running and the dialogue is excellent, especially when Ben Stiller plays an agitated character and Vince Vaughn does his smooth talking one liners. However as the movie goes along it becomes a little stale although still very watchable.
The acting is fine from all the characters, however I think it is far too much in their comfort zone. They all have their stereotypical movie roles and this was clearly written for each of them, rather than the characters being created and then actors found to fit the parts.
What I found lacking here was the presence of a bad guy, and I feel for comedies they always need the spiteful bad guy which always adds an extra comic element to the plot. Think There's something about Mary with Matt Dillon or Dodgeball with Ben Stiller himself. They did have a few characters like the cop or the aliens themselves but they were not developed at all.
As well as there being a few chuckles, there were also a few bad jokes, with most of them being about a certain male body part. This wasn't even needed, nor was it funny, so that is somewhere I would definitely mark this film down.
Overall I am going to give this film three stars and people may think I have overrated it, however is it really worse than a lot of similar rated films like Attack the Block or Paul. If the characters were swapped I think this film would get more praise and it just seems to be a bit of a vendetta against Stiller, a bit like with Tom Cruise. Just give this film a chance, it won't go down as legendary but I promise it will bring a smile to your face.
Film Only Review
It was the weekend and the weather was a bit dodgy. My friend and I decided to go to the cinema, but not knowing what was on we decided just to turn up and wing it, depending on the times available. We had a shortlist of choices, none of which either of us were that bothered about. In the end we plumped for The Watch, without knowing anything about it. I got to make the final choice, so apparently it is my fault...
The reason I picked the film was because of the cast. Ben Stiller and Vince Vaughan have starred in some funny films in their time (admittedly they have also been in some poor ones, but I wasn't thinking about that). They are joined by Jonah Hill (Superbad) and Richard Ayoade, who I used to enjoy watching in the British sitcom, The IT Crowd. The film is written by Seth Rogen, Jared Stern and Evan Goldburg so we expected a few laughs.
Evan (Ben Miller) is the manager of the local Costco in his suburban home town. One night his security guard is brutally killed and Evan is very upset, especially as the police seen fairly inept. He decides to set up a Neighbourhood Watch group and three other guys sign up. Bob (Vince Vaughan) who spends his time worrying about his teenage daughter whilst his wife is away for work and Franklin (Jonah Hill) who lives with his mum and collects guns are local men. Jemarcus (Richard Ayoade) is a divorced Brit who wants to get involved with the local community and rescue lonely (and grateful) housewives.
It doesn't take our hapless heroes long to realise that they are dealing with aliens (yawn) who are trying to destroy the town and kill people. Naturally no one takes them seriously, so they are on their own trying to track them down. This does allow for some amusing moments, but silly, visual laughs then clever one-liners, which is surprising for a dialogue heavy film. For me the funniest bit came towards the end, and I can't say it really generated a belly laugh, more a smile.
Cast wise, each of the four members play to type, do what they are supposed to do, and what we expect them to do, as seen in the majority of films they have been in. Ben Stiller plays the straight man, Vince Vaughan the loud one, Jonah Hill the gung-ho one and Richard Ayoade the awkward Brit (who was probably the best of the lot). I can't fault any performances per se, but I don't think any of the leads were challenged in their roles.
I think if I had known the premise of the film before I started I don't think I would have gone to see it. I suppose you would classify it as a comedy-sci-fi-bromance, but there isn't really enough of each genre to be sure, and it all seems to be a bit of nothingness. I think, given the calibre of the cast and the writers, I had every right to expect something a bit 'more' and intimately was disappointed. This isn't anybody's best work and I recommend watching it when it comes on TV if you want to watch it at all.
The film has a 15 certificate mainly for language and some spoof violence.