Pauls Valley, Oklahoma — Though it seems comedy is doomed to be forever beyond award worthy in the snobbiest of circles, it always seems the downfall is not separating the genre into its own category. Sure, there are those like today’s entry that aren’t exactly the best example of creativity through intelligence, but there can be joy even for the lowest common punch line.
As dumb as the plot behind this story appeared even in early trailers, if you just go in looking for laughs and have no expectations of actually bettering your own life, you can hardy count yourself upon the disappointed. Many of us may not be able to guess where all the accolades go for the best of film each year, but if you think the results will be anything beyond a few lost brain cells, maybe you need to stop going to the cinema altogether. “The Watch” is at least successful in that classic movie goal of offering distraction, even if there really is something more to seeing paint dry instead.
Set in a mostly friendly American town called Glenview Ohio, we are introduced to Evan Trautwig (Ben Stiller), the classic example of a person who thinks he can better the world by forming a group for just about anything possible. Happily running his community involved empire outside of his job as a Costco senior manager, he’s content enough in his delusional world until one of his close employees, a security guard, dies of unexplained gruesome circumstances.
Going to the one thing he knows, he canvases the town to form a neighborhood watch group and because no one else cares, ends up attracting the attention of town rejects. This includes a man obsessed with overprotecting his teenage daughter, Bob McAllister (Vince Vaughn), a suave British sounding dude in it to get laid named Jamarcus (Richard Ayoade) and a guy that was too mentally unstable to join a police force named Franklin (Jonah Hill). This mismatched band of protectors is about as successful as one might expect, until they are forced to deal with the fact that their foe is an alien race bent on conquering the world.
Admittedly, much of the plot is rushed along just so it can get to the next punchline, be it a few people in the town that bully our heroes or Evan mostly ignoring his wife Abby (Rosemarie DeWitt) until she is just relevant to include in the story. Then again, it’s funny enough that one can forgive the lazy script, especially if one is content to limit it to a one time showing.
As far as the age appropriate audience, this one is best suited for adults due to content and the low brow direction. Don’t expect a sequel, despite how the ending may leave that open. As a result I’d say “The Watch” deserves a verdict of one and a half out of five aliens.
DVD rental courtesy of Family Video of Pauls Valley