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“The Watch” is an alien invasion movie with a decidedly comedic slant. I think it’s safe to give away that part of the plot now, right? For a while there, we weren’t sure what “The Watch” was all about. The teaser trailer didn’t give anything away, but pretty soon it became obvious, and subsequent trailers revealed as much. “The Watch” now arrives on DVD and Blu-ray courtesy of 20th Century Fox. Check out our review of the film below, check it outers.
There’s trouble brewing in peaceful Glenview, Ohio. That’s why four civic-minded citizens, armed with flashlights, walkie-talkies and spiffy new jackets, have teamed up to safeguard their community. But the guys find more than they bargained for when they uncover an alien plot to destroy Earth, and now these bumbling heroes are Glenview’s only chance to save the neighborhood – and the world – from annihilation!
For a film with “The Watch’s” pedigree, it’s surprising that the movie barely broke even at the box office. I’m not sure if the film’s title change had anything to do with it — the movie was originally called “Neighborhood Watch”, before a Florida shooting incident involving an actual neighborhood watch made the film’s title too hot for the studio to handle, thus, the simplified “The Watch”. Who knows, really, but I think the film should do reasonably well post-theatrical release.
Ever wondered what would happen if Hollywood combined their penchant for glossy big-budget sci-fi alien invasion movies with the raunchy comedies of, say, the “Hangover” films? You’d get something like “The Watch”, a film that manages to combine the two genres into one pretty funny mess.
Ben Stiller stars as the manager of a suburban Costco who decides to start a neighborhood watch to safeguard his streets after one of his employees turn up dead and missing his skin. He’s joined by a trio of numbskulls — Vince Vaughn as a fast-talking, well, Vince Vaughn type — except this one happens to be married and desperately needs some bro time; Jonah Hill as a slightly disturbed police reject who still lives with his mother; and Richard Ayoade, who spends the movie trying to get sex. The four clueless “watchmen” think they’re just dealing with neighborhood crime, but when an alien hive surfaces in Stiller’s Costco, they become our last line of defense. God help us.
The jokes come fast and furious, and as to be expected, they don’t all stick. A lot do find their mark, and “The Watch” is often pretty funny. That is, if you’re not predisposed to hating crude, at times juvenile-level humor. Penis jokes? Check. Sex jokes? Double check. More penis jokes? Triple check! Stiller, Vaughn, and Hill bring it often and early, and Ayoade, in his first big Hollywood role, holds his own. Like I said, not all the jokes the script throws at the screen works, but enough did for me to recommend it if you’re looking for some laughs. “Saturday Night Live” alum Will Forte gets special mention as the less-than-helpful local copper, and Rosemarie DeWitt is fetching as Stiller’s ignored wife. The special effects, by the way, were surprisingly solid.
The box cover for the Blu-ray boasts “Ruder, Cruder, and Lewder”, and it certainly is that. Bonus content on the disc includes over 25 minutes of deleted and extended scenes, along with a nearly 4-minute gag reel. Fans of Jonah Hill get about 6 minutes of the actor doing different adlibs for different scenes, some of which are hilarious. There is a long behind-the-scenes featurette called “Watchmakers” (about 12 minutes) and a short one called “Alien Invasions and You (just under 2 minutes). “Casting the Alien” has an interview with, er, the alien. And finally, the ubiquitous theatrical trailer for the movie. I’m never sure who actually watches the trailer for a movie they just saw and just went through the bonus content for, but I guess there must be an audience for this, right? Why else would they keep putting it on these discs?
I’m of the opinion that “The Watch” took some unnecessary hits during its promotion, and the last-minute name-change was completely unnecessary in my opinion. That having been said, you could do a lot worst than Stiller, Vaughn, Hill and Ayoade cracking it up from beginning to end in “The Watch”. Granted, the guys are apparently playing the same roles you’ve seen them played dozens of times before, but together? Give “The Watch” a shot on DVD/Blu-ray if you lost out on it in theaters earlier this year.