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Movie Reviews

Movie review: ‘The Watch’

Vince Vaughan, Richard Ayoade, Ben Stiller, and Jonah Hill make the neighborhood safe for boredom.

The premise was promising, but in execution The Watch is a tepid dude comedy wrapped around an anemic science fiction plot.

Ben Stiller is the leader of this particular wolf pack, starring as Evan, the manager of a local Costco store who has intimacy issues with his wife Abby (Rosemarie DeWitt, the latest in Stiller’s chain of unlikely screen wives). After the store’s security guard is gruesomely killed one night, a profoundly unsettled Evan decides to form a neighborhood watch patrol. Sadly, his recruits are limited too fun-loving man-child Bob (Vince Vaughn), police academy reject and borderline psychopath Franklin (Jonah Hill), and token minority Jamarcus (Richard Ayoade). Evan is serious about the deal, but the other three are primarily interested in hanging out, drinking, and/or getting laid. A crack crime-fighting squad they ain’t.

Nevertheless, they stumble onto the truth behind the series of murders — they’re being carried out by the vanguard of a horde of alien invaders. Nobody else believes them and the invaders could be anywhere or anyone, so naturally up to them to save the planet blah blah blah, yadda yadda yadda.

Unfortunately, it’s all pretty routine. The plot, of course, isn’t the real draw here; the only reason to show up depends on whether or not you want see Stiller, Vaughn, and Hill throw out more of their signature shtick while Ayoade fights for attention as the wacky foreign guy.

Still, something with a little more meat on its bones would have been appreciated, if for no other reason than to justify the 100-minute runtime. It’s not bad, just boring, though it does perk up when dealing with subplots involving Evan and Abby’s inability to conceive a child and Bob’s attempts to relate to his teeneage daughter.

The script was co-written by Seth Rogen, and ths brandishes plenty of his brand of copious and inventive profanity and plays to the leads’ level of comedic timing but rarely gets their best efforts. It’s more raunchy than funny, and that gets tedious.quite fast.

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About Gary Dowell

Professional film critic, journalist, Byronic hero.

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