The Watch Review
September 23, 2012
For some critics to recommend just going to see Attack the Block again over The Watch is incredibly unfair and unjust. With the only similarity being the inclusion of an alien race, the two films are very different. Although not a bad film, anyone will be disappointed with The Watch if they're expecting a Joe Cornish film, rather than an Akiva Schaffer one.
“Altogether a deeply dislikable damp squib of a picture”; “its intergalactic badness does take the breath away”; “a studio turd marinated in eau de skunk that stinks worse than week-old fish”; this is just a sample of the damning criticism The Watch has received on Rotten Tomatoes. Thanks to the 16% rotten rating, I wasn’t holding out too much hope for Saturday Night Live director Akiva Schaffer’s second cinematic offering. Staring Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn and the fantastic Richard Ayoade; I really couldn’t see why it had got so many people het up. The Watch really couldn’t be all that bad, could it?
When Costco manager Evan (Stiller) rolls into work to find his security guard friend murdered, he starts a neighbourhood watch group to protect his community from similar atrocities. From his not-so-successful recruitment drive he is accompanied by high school drop out Franklin (Jonah Hill), construction worker Bob (Vaughn) and recent divorcee Jamarcus (Ayoade). The foursome soon accidentally discover that their suburban town has become overrun with aliens. Their only choice is to not just save the neighbourhood, but also the world, from alien invasion.
Despite the onslaught of criticism The Watch has received, it’s really not terrible; I have seen far worse this year (Jack & Jill springs to mind). Not worthy of any awards, and not pushing any boundaries; it’s still capable of being enjoyable. I even laughed a number of times; clearly the mark of mild entertainment. Even though there were scenes that are worthy of the chuckles they produced, there’s still a number of things about The Watch that managed to bump the score down to average. As much as I adore Ayoade as a talented comedian, and an excellent director; he was just a complete oddity as Jamarcus. Providing some much welcome laughs; his character is contrived and completely out of place. Even if this was intentional, it just didn’t work. His character’s conclusion even goes as far as being predictable, for reasons that’ll make sense to anyone who has seen The Watch.
The comparisons between The Watch and Attack the Block have been more than unfair. Yes, they both have aliens in them; that’s where the similarities end. A much sillier take on alien invasion with less gore and less impressive CGI; The Watch’s setting of middle class suburbia is only the start of numerous differences. The criticism it has received for topical violence is just as unjust. Touched upon a little in my review of The Dark Knight Rises; studios and cinemas cannot stop the release of future films because of terrible events. Perhaps a little cold, but life does go on.
The perfect antidote to the dull comedies currently in cinemas; The Watch is enjoyable as long as high expectations are not held. With some well written bromance-esque lines courtesy of Seth Rogen’s script, and some great chemistry between the neighbourhood watch group; it’s great at home entertainment. Instead, save your £9 for something that’s really worthy of the cinematic experience.