Sunday, 2 September 2012

Review: The Watch

CAUTION: Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.

The Watch poster

The Watch
100 mins / Dir. Akiva Schaffer

So, a straight 100 minute, cookie-cutter comedy about a group of underdog outsiders who band together for a greater cause, and at the same time overcoming their own individual hangups? Three American stars, each with a frankly hit-and-miss record when it comes to being a comedic lead, and the addition of a British actor who only seems to have one persona to his belt? No notable cameo appearances to speak of, but a range of incidental characters who frequently upstage the stars with their wit, timing or sheer absurdity? A wandering direction which seems to forget its own main narrative and wander down Subplot Alley for extended periods of time? A surfeit of knob-jokes, with enough language thrown in to ensure that crucial 15 Certificate?

All of these…

The Good: I can't work out if it's in spite of the laundry-list up there, or because of it that I really enjoyed The Watch. The formulaic framework (courtesy of Seth Rogen) made it a lot easier for me to take the movie at face-value. Which is a nice way of saying 'just enjoy the jokes'. I chuckled frequently throughout and guffawed three or four times, and the audience around me did the same, so it was doing something right.

With one exception, it's been beautifully cast, and everyone is on great form with characters they're suited to while not seeming to be overplayed (yet, anyway). That exception would be Mr Stiller, by the way. He's perfectly acceptable as Evan, the uptight founder of the Neighbourhood Watch, but he doesn't bring anything unique to the part. As I mentioned above, it's the likes of Will Forte as the sarcastic police officer, and Billy Crudup as Evan's flirting neighbour than steal their scenes completely. It's worth pointing out that the film is more about the aliens than the trailer would suggest. I thought they were going to be thrown in half way through, but that's not the case. And although the design of the creatures is a little generic, they're executed well enough, given the type of film you're watching.

Other than that, The Watch is a comfortably predictable (but no less funny, for it) frat-boy comedy, with shades of Paul and Attack The Block, wrapped up in Superbad. Frequently crude, but always good-natured.

Oh, and there's one c-bomb (to snare the aforementioned 15 cert), and for once it's delivered magnificently. Bonus points for that.

The Bad: The film does try its hand at having a subtext about duty, friendship, and relationships. It's probably best if you ignore this, as it's been done so much better in the past by other movies. But at the same time, bonus points go to them for attempting it. Without that second layer, what are we left with? Lesbian Vampire Killers, that's what...

The Ugly: At least one glaring spot where bad editing has Ben Stiller completely jump from one mark to another between cuts, only to deliver a line which makes absolutely no sense, because the rest of that conversation strand has been excised. I'm intrigued to know how much of this movie is on the cutting-room floor, because there's no gag-reel or extra scenes at the end, and there are a few lines in the trailer that don't make it into the final theatrical cut.

All in all: I found The Watch to be very, very likeable. More than anybody else, if online ratings are anything to go by. If you don't make it to the flicks for this one, it'll make a good night in with friends and beer. Just don't expect anything other than a noisy, silly comedy.


• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.

• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

1 comment:

  1. Rubbish film I thought. I must admit that some parts of the movie were funny but I think these films that Seth Rogan puts out and now also a lot of other writers has far too much toilet humour mainly of the 'shock and awe' variety. Imagine trying to watch something like this with your parents? No chance, it's far too dirty. If i was a teenager I would be embarassed to have this movie on in my bedroom alone just incase someone came in and heard the language in it....Anyway, I have reviewed this also, my conclusion to anyone thinking of going to see it is...Go see The 'Burbs (starring Tom Hanks) instead!