During a summer that has been sadly devoid of any outstanding films with the exception of “The Amazing Spider Man,” it shouldn’t come as any shock that “The Watch,” the newest “comedy” on the silver screen, will definitely be contender for worst film of the year. This dud, which is totally bereft of any humor from beginning to end, achieves new lows in inferior filmmaking, tasteless entertainment, and insulting stupidity. And while we are speaking of stupidity, plunking down hard-earned cash to see such unmitigated, moronic trash as this far surpasses any measurable form of human intellectual inferiority.
“The Watch” tells the story of Evan Trautwig (Ben Stiller), the manager of a Costco store in the small mythical town of Glenview, Ohio. He loves his job and his hometown, and because he doesn’t have a lot of friends, he is constantly organizing groups like the Glenview Running Club, a Recycling Team, and a Spanish table at the community center. You could say that he is the town’s organizer.
On the night when the film begins, Evan closes his store and leaves a security guard in charge of things while heads home for an evening with his wife (Rosemary Dewitt), who desperately wants to become pregnant. After Evan leaves the store, the guard grabs some beer and snacks and settles down to watch TV, but his pleasant evening turns into a nightmare when he is attacked and killed by an alien.
The next morning when the unsuspecting Evan arrives at work, he finds the parking lot filled with police cars and the yellow crime-scene tape surrounding his building. Now remember that Ben is a good citizen, and when he finds out what happened to his security guard, he decides to form a watch group to protect the community from whatever it was that murdered the poor guard.
Unfortunately only three people show up at Evan’s house for the organizational meeting of the watch group. Bob is a guy who has a teenaged daughter and an awesome man cave in his house, and Franklin (Jonah Hill) is a rather strange (to say the least) fellow who was rejected as a recruit for the police force because he failed the written, physical, and mental health tests. Finally there’s Jamarcus (Richard Ayoade), a recently divorced guy with a lot of time on his hands.
After some disagreement about where to hold their meetings, the members of Watch get organized, and finally go out on surveillance only to discover that their peaceful little town has been invaded by aliens. And now they have to figure out how to prevent them from taking over.
It’s difficult to know where to begin describing how idiotic this movie is, but perhaps the best place is to remind you that comedies are supposed to be funny, and that there is a massive difference between what is truly humorous and what is not. Of course, this is subjective, and I’m certain there are those who may find myriad lewd references to male genitalia hilarious. But I’m not one of them. I have seen some films where this kind of humor actually works, but it requires the type of imagination that the writers for this movie obviously don’t possess.
Another key to a good comedy is that we care about the characters. Think about how Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan made us cheer when Harry and Sally finally got together. In this film, however, Evan, Bob, Franklin, and Jamarcus come across as bumbling and belligerent idiots who exert far too much energy yelling at one another.
How many times have you left the theater after watching a really good comedy reciting some of the more memorable lines or discussing a few of the terrific scenes? Don’t expect that to happen with this film because everything about it is completely forgettable.
This film also borrows shamelessly from the film “Alien,” but you can see this “surprise” coming a mile away. Guessing what I’m talking about here shouldn’t require a lot of thought.
There’s little point in commenting about any of the performances in the film because it seems as if Stiller, Vaughn, and Hill simply play the same characters with different names in all of their films. This one is no exception. And I can’t hand any acting honors to the aliens because all they say is “arrrrmmmgghbimmbnnjummmbo.”
As I sat in the darkness of the nearly deserted theater viewing this pathetic excuse for a film, I was leaning toward giving it a final score of zero, but then I noticed that on the wall of Bob’s man cave there was an Ohio State banner. And then a few scenes later, Bob was wearing an Ohio State T-shirt. Thus, because I could never bring myself to give anything associated with Ohio State a zero, “The Watch” gets one point for the banner and one point for Bob’s shirt, bringing its final score to a two.
There’s no doubt that this film will appeal to some, but I would rather have Jack Bauer torture me than sit through this movie again. I guess you could say that “The Watch” completely alienated me.