I like to walk into a movie theater with little or no expectations. This enables me to watch a film as unbiased as possible, to appreciate or criticize it fairly for what it was trying to accomplish. When I went to see The Watch I made a mistake—I expected to have fun. In my defense, this isn’t such a terrible expectation to have for a film that blends sci-fi and comedy with a cast of actors known for their comedic abilities. In the back of my mind, I was hoping to relive the same kind of joy that Ghostbusters brought to me as child (and still does today), but I quickly realized that The Watch is simply another good idea executed poorly that wasted both its talent and budget.
The premise is simple and promising: In the wake of a murder in their community, four men start a neighborhood watch that ends up functioning more as an outlet for friendship, rather than an actual crime watch. Through their meetings and stakeouts, they discover that aliens are killing their neighbors and disguising themselves as other suburban dwellers.
Although the actors have nice chemistry and give decent performances, the jokes are in no way worthy of the men that deliver them. In particular, Richard Ayoade deserves so much better for his American feature film debut. The Watch takes raunchy humor to a new level of immaturity through repetition of the same penis jokes. The first one wasn’t funny and by the time the 30th was delivered, I was beyond annoyed.
The plethora of phallic humor simply reflects the absence of women in this film. There are only two main female roles and both characters are centered on sexual value. Chelsea (Erin Moriarty), teenage daughter of Bob (Vince Vaughn), is constantly sneaking out to parties, while her father is preoccupied with keeping her virginity in tact. Abby (Rosemarie DeWitt), wife of Evan (Ben Stiller), is a one-dimensional character who is constantly trying to seduce her husband in order to conceive a child. These women are only concerned with stereotypical women’s issues: for Chelsea, boys and being cool; for Abby, children and family. How boring, how cliché, and above all, how insulting. The Watch does not stop there in terms of political incorrectness towards minorities, but I will not divulge the other for it would contain spoiler content. If you bother to waste your hard earned money on seeing this film, I’m sure you’ll spot it yourself. At least I hope. Ultimately, The Watch is another failure, not just for the film industry, but for society.