Writer: Elaine EweWriter Ratings:Overall: Cast: Plot: Effects: Cinematography: Watch this if you liked:
Directed by Akiva Schaffer who is also the director of "Hot Rod", writer for "Saturday Night Live" and a member of The Lonely Island, with a casting that consists of Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, Jonah Hill and Richard Ayoade, anyone who has ever watched either will know what they are in for with "The Watch".
While Schaffer's work with "Saturday Night Live" has been commended and awarded with an Emmy nomination, two Writers Guild of America Awards and a Peabody Award, almost everything about this science fiction comedy points to his pool of talents to be strictly confined to "Saturday Night Live" or The Lonely Island music videos.
Instead of a rip-roaring time, we get racist and sexist stereotypes, endless penis jokes and Costco promotions from the talented cast pool who play a group of neighbours plagued with personal issues that were brought together to form a suburban neighbourhood watch group when a member of their dull community is brutally murdered. Things kick into overdrive when the alien is introduced, and luckily, the special effects in "The Watch" generally impress.
Otherwise, the movie's tone lurches between genre-lampooning humour and earnest drama, where neither is done well. Occasionally, there are moments where it is genuinely hilarious, especially but mostly it is just plain crude, vulgar and offensive. Thankfully, Schaffer is saved by his choice casting and his decision to keep it small-scale and intimate. Some of the film's best moments come from the interactions between Stiller, Vaughn, Hill and Ayoade's characters, such as when they bond over having found a strange metallic orb, and during the final act, all bets are off. There is also traction in the quartet's acting such as Stiller's and Vaughn's more subdued exchanges, which makes it more comical than if it had been over-the-top, while Hill just keeps getting better and better with every film. His turn as the uptight and mentally unhinged Franklin, a high school dropout who dreams of being a police officer is just golden. A new film star is also born in the form of Ayoade, who is best known for starring in the Channel 4 British sitcom, "The IT Crowd" as the geeky genius, Maurice Moss. Here's Ayoade channels a more mellow and quirky persona, albeit still nerdy, which helps provide the film with more novelty.
Seth Rogen and his comedy partner, Evan Goldberg has penned some fine screenplays such as "Superbad" and "Pineapple Express", but "The Watch" is not one of them, although considering his preceding effort, "The Green Hornet", turned out to be a disappointment, we cannot say we were not warned.
The verdict? "The Watch" is basically an extended version of "Saturday Night Live" Digital shorts and The Lonely Island's music videos, complete with the crude, vulgar and offensive humour that is frankly, only worth paying attention to because of the talented cast.
"The Watch" is also available in 2D in Singapore.Cinema Online, 16 August 2012