Review by: Jose Gonzales
The Watch is a movie about four guys who band together to become the Neighborhood Watch of Glenview, Ohio, after a security guard is brutally murdered at the local Costco Warehouse.
The main character of the movie is Evan (Ben Stiller). Evan was the victim’s manager and feels guilty for his death and so he starts up the Neighborhood Watch with Bob (Vince Vaughn), Franklin (Jonah Hill), and Jamarcus (Richard Ayoade). Evan is the leader of the group, who evades local overbearing police, the sexual advances of his wife, and neighborhood kids who want to ridicule the whole watch. Bob and Franklin provide fun character support, but I feel Jamarcus is the real gem of the group. His meek persona and approach really was the highlight of this movie for me.
I do not care too much for Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, or Jonah Hill’s recent film performances. Stiller keeps wanting to play the straight-man in comedies and let his supporting cast provide the humor to his reserved tone. Vaughn has played characters who want to be everyone’s friend but doesn’t want to be responsible, and Hill has not asserted himself with more productive roles after really bringing attention to himself in “SuperBad”. The combination of these three actors made me dread having to see this. I didn’t want to have these actors fall into the parameters of how I perceive them in past movies just to sleepwalk through this film.
The Watch made me believe this was going to be more of the same since most of the movie is spent on individual stories, trying to acknowledge sexual inadequacies, a father’s frustration with his rebellious daughter, and the disappointment of being shunned by the police department. Why do I want to know this much about these stories? Why isn’t the story moved along and we find out more about these characters as the movie plays out? The trailer for this movie made me instantly think of a modern-day version of Ghostbusters. Instead of New York City, we have a typical suburban neighborhood in the heartland of America. Instead of scientists finding the paranormal we have a neighborhood watch association stumble upon an alien invasion, and we have a rag-tag group of people brought together to defend a community.
But what really unraveled my interest in this movie was the editing and focus.This movie might have come from a really good script, it garnered attention from comedic actors who can bring something to a role, but most of the interesting parts of this movie happen in the last 20 minutes. The first hour-plus is centered around the lives of the main characters.
I don’t want the main characters to resolve their issues then gear up to fight aliens in the neighborhood. I want them to pursue the aliens and in that pursuitfind the tools or frame of mind to resolve their issues. That flows better for the audience and ultimately keeps my attention for the whole movie. This movie should have been cleaned up in editing, decisions should have been made on how to present the challenges, successes and failures, and ultimately the resolution.
The Watch does have a few moments of chuckle and laughter, but really only gets interesting within the last 20 minutes. Unfortunately you have to wade through 70 minutes to get the best bits. Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, and Jonah Hill may be the names that draw attention to the movie, but their performances don’t make you want to see it. If you want to see a handful of guys fumble around with their lives and battle aliens for 90 minutes you rent Ghostbusters. The Watchwould not be a first pick in my opinion.
See the preview below: