Monday, December 31, 2012

Under 250: The Watch

There was a time, not so very long ago, when a concept comedy starring Ben Stiller and Vince Vaughn could have opened on top with only a trace amount of advertising.  The Watch plays out like a death knell for their individual brands, proof that relying on the same old techniques and character archetypes just doesn't work.  In fact, The Watch feels like a late nineties/early aughts retread; a dirty Men in Black or Evolution in which all of the primary characters are horned out morons who yell and bicker constantly.  Stiller stars as Evan, a well-meaning Costco manager who, of course, is incredibly uptight.  When one of his employees is found dead and covered in slime, he tries to start up a neighborhood watch and manages to round up three losers looking for a distraction from their real life responsibilities.  This is where Vaughn comes in (alongside Jonah Hill and Richard Ayoade), and while Stiller is tolerable, Vaughn is not.  His loud, bombastic shtick is exceptionally trying here, and his loud mouthed scenery chewing clashes with Stiller's nervous energy in a way that makes the film entirely too grating.  The Watch seems to want to be an adult Attack the Block, but winds up slipping lazily in a deep, too easy pit of dumb dick jokes and Vince Vaughn's supremely irritating buffoonery.  There are funny moments, however, and ultimately while the film is bad, it's simply played out and not fully deserving of the "worst of the year" status many have assigned it.     

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