Comedy may be the toughest genre to get right. Everyone has their little quirks, what one person finds gut bustingly hysterical, another may find to be painfully annoying. I fall into the latter camp when Ben Stiller is involved. In most films I find the man to be painful to watch and his latest film, The Watch does not help to change my perception of him.
The Watch follows Evan (Ben Stiller), a store manager at suburban Ohio Costco, as he organizes a neighborhood watch after a grisly murder happens after hours at his store. Evan recruits a trio of misfits (Vince Vaughn, Jonah Hill and Richard Ayoade) to help him out. And as revealed in the trailers for the film, the plot centers around an alien invasion that evidently only these four buffoons can manage to thwart.
Evan takes his role on the neighborhood watch very seriously and this is supposed to play as the counterpoint to his trio of watchmen but it falls flat. For while Vaughn and Hill have some pretty amusing one-liners, Stiller’s Evan is about as unlikeable as they come and his character is the one the film mostly centers on. To Stiller’s credit, Evan is written as an unlikeable twit and he does the best he can with it but the film wants people to feel for Evan and back him as the hero but it is near impossible. His emotional turn comes too late in the film and is interrupted before he can deliver on anything making him hard to sympathize with and get behind.
The Watch seems like it would work better as a five minute skit as opposed to a nearly 100 minute movie and I am sure as a skit director Akiva Schaffer would have turned out something that was outright hysterical being as short form comedy is his wheelhouse. But The Watch is a full length feature film and because of that it is a disappointment that only manages to get part of it right part of the time.
2 / 5