Review: The Watch (2012)

Directed by: Akiva Schaffer
Starring: Ben Stiller, Jonah Hill, Vince Vaughn

It seems like only yesterday that every raunchy R-rated comedy to hit theaters had a mild air of intelligence about them, trading laughs for genre-blending ingenuity at regular, if sometimes messy intervals. Sitting comfortably among the elite are those deemed “buddy comedies,” a.k.a. those that center around any particular instance of “bromance” or the like including I Love You, Man and even last year’s Horrible Bosses to a questionable extent. With The Watch, director Akiva Schaffer loses sight of what effective comedy is as ineffectual vulgarity and sparse sci-fi elements are combined to make one of the worst films of the year and quite possibly the the 2000s as a whole.

“Who doesn’t appreciate a good dick joke or forty?” the director and screenwriters asked among themselves prior to producing this trash, implementing everything we’ve come to hate about the stars at its core on the basis of their respective, repetitive typecasts, allowing us to easily hate a bulk of the proceedings without a second thought. Consistently bombarding viewers with one crass, gratingly lengthy joke after another, the film’s rhythm becomes predictable until BAM; an alien pops in to break up the almost offensive monotony.

Like I said, the scenario involving the otherworldly race and their plans for Planet Earth are as embarrassingly textbook as can be, with The Watch taking its sweet time to present us with the world domination subplot we all saw coming far too late. Awkward characterization pairs horribly with the film’s other lackluster elements, leaving it up to us to try and make the best out of something stale and predictable as such. As for the talent on display, it’s all squandered miserably as Stiller, Hill, Vaughn and Richard Ayoade’s refreshing brand of humor are rendered useless thanks to a script that effortlessly substitutes said trite bullshit for quality filmmaking.

From start to finish, The Watch reeks of incompetence thanks to an uncharacteristically inept script from two out of three of its scribes and utterly tasteless humor. Not to discredit those who have tread through similar territory with much better results, but jokes of this caliber should be reserved for those underagers raiding their parents liquor cabinets one Friday night after school. Immaturity aside, four comic dynamos’ talents are colossally wasted in the process of clumsily implementing an alarmingly minor alien invasion story arc, all combining to make one truly unbearable disaster and collectively unfunny experiment.

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