What started out as an idea for a PG-13 “Ghostbusters”-type comedy a few years back, has turned into an R-rated attempt at comedy with more penis jokes per square inch than any movie in recent history.
How could this happen? Simple. Dirty sells right now.
In “The Watch,” Ben Stiller plays the by-the-book Costco manager Evan, who is the ultimate community activist. He starts a neighborhood watch program after the night watchman in his store is brutally murdered.
Vince Vaughn is the goofball contractor Bob, who signs on to the “Watch” group as an excuse to get out of the house and party. He has a teenage daughter who is giving him fits, running around with bad boys with worse intentions.
Jonah Hill is Franklin, a bit of a psycho who resents being rejected by the local police department. He joins the group to show the men in blue they missed an opportunity to hire an exceptionally crazy officer, especially since he’s a bit wild-eyed and loves to flash his switchblade.
Finally, there’s British newcomer Richard Ayoade, who plays Jamarcus. He’s joined the group to meet hot women in distress. However, his refreshing style of comedy is no match for the stilted script he’s forced to work from.
These four stooges stumble upon a potential alien invasion that is scheduled to kick off right in their humble town of Glenview, Ohio (actually shot in Georgia). They must somehow figure out a way to thwart the invasion before the alien scouts can signal the mother ship to bring it on.
However, they also have to deal with the notion that some of the aliens have taken human form, when one of the creepy lizard guys forebodingly says, “We are already among you.”
If the filmmakers had focused their energies along those lines, this could have been an amusing alien adventure. But taking the perversion route is just crude, ridiculous and juvenile.
And why a quality actress like Rosemarie DeWitt would sign on for this lame boys-in-the-treehouse humor is beyond me.
Ultimately, a few gags work in this movie, but for the most part, it’s a terrible script that hides its awfulness in the loudness of its characters and a determination to mine every penis joke imaginable, rendering “The Watch” nearly unwatchable.