movie film review | chris tookey


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Tookey's Rating
1 /10
Average Rating
3.36 /10
Ben Stiller , Vince Vaughn , Jonah Hill
Full Cast >

Directed by: Akiva Shaffer
Written by: Jared Stern, Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg

Released: 2012
Origin: US
Colour: C
Length: 101

You’ll be checking yours.
Reviewed by Chris Tookey

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At 101 minutes, The Watch is unwatchable - a punishingly long, aggressively crude, laugh-free American comedy about neighbourhood vigilantes in suburban Ohio. Leader of these overgrown infants is Evan (Ben Stiller, pictured second left), an officious busybody who doesn’t dare tell his broody wife he’s sterile – and if you think that’s a dubious premise for generating laughs, you’re right.

There’s a violent psychopath too dumb to get into the police, who – get this for a lovable trait - really, really likes guns. Unsurprisingly, Jonah Hill (pictured left) fails to make this living argument for arms control anything other than dangerously creepy.

Worse still, there’s a boorish lout and over-possessive dad who has an unhealthy fixation on his teenage daughter’s sex life - inevitably Vince Vaughn (pictured right), here achieving the impossible and turning in an even more charm-free performance than he gave in his last ten turkeys.

Finally, there’s a softly-spoken black Brit (Richard Ayoade, second right) who has an unquenchable appetite for orgies. Hilarious!

Weirdly, the film follows the malodorous example of The Hangover 2 in assuming we’re going to root for these four repellent individuals. Indeed, we’re meant to cheer them on as they take up arms to annihilate an invasion by extra-terrestrial aliens.

You might think that even a defiantly lowbrow, big-budget American film would bother to do some creative thinking on how the invaders might look, but no - they’re identical to the creatures in the Alien movies. Bafflingly, however, they aim to take over the earth by putting on human skins and posing as local residents, just like in Invasion of the Body Snatchers. How exactly they’re going to accomplish this, since they appear to be around seven foot tall and of only vaguely human shape, remains a mystery, as the 70 million dollar budget doesn’t run to anything resembling a transformation scene.

The Watch looks as though a deeply untalented Hollywood executive sat through last year’s Attack The Block and decided to make the world’s most moronic remake, with plenty of foul language and product placement, and a record number of jokes about genitals, homosexuals and bodily functions. The writers are Jared Stern, who previously perpetrated the putrid Mr Popper’s Penguins, and the team of Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen, whose most horrendous movie up to now was The Green Hornet, though here it’s fair to say they have surpassed themselves.

Saturday Night Live director Akiva Shaffer manages to make even an alien invasion seem dull and lacking in urgency. He’s also guilty of some of the most glaring continuity errors to infest any mainstream film. It’s a miracle he wasn’t fired as soon as anyone saw the rushes.

The only watchable performance in The Watch is by Richard Ayoade, who wrote and directed the cult British hit of 2010, Submarine. He seems to have wandered in from a different, less shouty film culture. For much of the movie, he spends his time shaking his head and muttering “this is not good”. Too right it isn’t.

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