[dropcap style="font-size: 60px; color: #9b9b9b;"] T [/dropcap] he Watch is yet again another sophomoric comedy about middle-aged men with apparent economic prosperity but with too little to do and even less common sense about staying out of harm’s way. The producers have overlaid an alien invasion theme that straddles the real deal Alien-like reptilian “prawn”,as Peter Jackson might call them and the Paul-like Seth Rogen-esque hip/funny alien with a little a. If that last sentence was hard to follow and confused, you get the general structure of this film. The director doesn’t seem to know exactly what he wants this film to be….is it scary, funny, motivational, or sentimental?
The cast is focused around Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn and Jonah Hill, all great comedic forces, but each with a different style. Unlike the Judd Apatow ensemble approach to comedy, this film seems to just throw all three comedic styles into a washing machine and hope that what comes out works. If you cut this film into the three comedian’s segments you might find the lines funny. But blending them together is actually both a dilution and a distraction. While you are absorbing an offhand Vaughn comment that might have been funny, you find yourself watching Stiller show his neurotic look while Jonah Hill launches into a potty-mouthed blather as he does. They actually step on each others’ riffs and make the cardinal sin of comedy…..bad timing. I also didn’t like seeing them steal each others’ bits…..like when Hill quiets his mother with a finger laid lazily down his mother’s lips….a direct rip-off of Vaughn’s Wedding Crasher “weird brother” scene. It’s funny….but still a clear rip-off.
This film is like a badly constructed portfolio where the covariance matrix got ignored and the end result is 2+2+2 = 3. The art of good film-making, even of a slapstick comedy, is in the mixing and combining of talent. Not so much going on here.