Evan (Ben Stiller) is a man that appears to have everything he could ever want. Evan has a career that he loves, a wife that loves him, good friends, and a terrific house in his quiet stereotypical suburban neighborhood. Shortly after we are introduced to him things start going array. He takes it upon himself to start a neighborhood watch because a local resident gets brutally murdered and the police weren’t doing enough to catch the killer. He enlists Bob (Vince Vaughn), Franklin (Jonah Hill), and Jamarcus (Richard Ayoade ) and one evening on patrol they get more than they bargained for. That’s basically The Watch in the nutshell. It’s a simple story that has potential to be a very funny but the jokes are too few and far between. There are laughs in The Watch, however most of the jokes fall flat. Some of the best scenes are in the trailers, and if you choose not to see this movie you wouldn’t be missing too much.
So why does The Watch ultimately fail? It has a veteran comedy cast that knows their roles very well. They literally play the same type of character in every movie they are in. The director of The Watch is Akiva Schaffer, a long time writer on Saturday Night Live, and he directed the underappreciated movie Hot Rod. This is essentially an all-star team of comedy and it left me shaking my head at all the missed opportunity. The Watch fails because these actors deserve a far more witty humor than the writing in this script gives them. It often goes for the witty dialogue exchanges of movies like Old School and Superbad, but this type of comedy feels wrong for this cast now. Even Jonah Hill feels more mature than the jokes he delivers. By the end of the film the writing gets so incredibly lazy that you just role your eyes at the way the evil characters are defeated. The Watch is uneven, it attempts to give Stiller’s character depth, but then just wraps up the story with some adolescent humor and phones it in. It had a great premise, but its delivery isn’t very funny. I suggest renting it at the Red Box if you want to see it.
RATING: 1.5 out of 4
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