<em>The Watch</em>

The Watch

The Watch

Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, and Jonah Hill star in a film written by Jared Stern, Seth Rogen, and Evan Goldberg, and directed by Akiva Schaffer.

Some movies are such oddball conglomerates of ideas that don’t necessarily belong together they can feel like recipes gone bad. We wonder, in retrospect, where the flavor train got derailed. In the case of the mutant sci-fi/suburban-angst comedy The Watch, a film that, despite the occasional bad-boy charm, generally fizzles into nothingness, the mind reels back and imagines mishaps in the conceptual kitchen. In the script, partly written by Seth Rogen, the problem and the promise may have begun with the notion of an alien invasion taking root at Costco.

Well trained in sighting clichés from our years in the multiplex, we know something otherworldly is afoot with the first appearance of green slime. But the alien factor keeps slipping in and out of focus in the movie’s plot playground. “The Watch” in question is a men’s club and neighborhood watch “task force” in a quiet suburban town suddenly interrupted by strange murderous forces. (In fact, the film’s release was delayed out of sensitivity to the death of Floridian Trayvon Martin, who was killed by neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman.)

In this movie watchman club, Ben Stiller plays the straight man and more uptight captain in a motley crew of suburbanites with assorted issues. His allies include straight-talking dude with the righteous man cave (Vince Vaughan), a young, frustrated, and fairly clueless wannabe cop (Jonah Hill), and a British black man (Richard Ayoade, a refreshing new face in the existing comedy posse).

Some of the tangy left-field treats along the murky path of misfiring jokes and miswired narratives come from Hill, in a role somewhat related to his law-enforcement hero in the recent (and far superior) 21 Jump Street. For some reason, for instance, it’s a distinct lowbrow thrill to hear Hill, in a Costco melee, bellowing the line “Lock and load, bitches. Anything from outer space — kill it!” Or maybe we’re just hungry for something — anything — to break the deafening silence of comedy desperately seeking kick.

For showtimes, check the Independent's movie listings, here.

To submit a comment on this article, email or visit our Facebook page. To submit information to a reporter, email

Be succinct, constructive, and relevant to the story. Leaving a comment means you agree to our Discussion Guidelines. We like civilized discourse. We don't like spam, lying, profanity, harassment or personal attacks.

comments powered by Disqus
event calendar sponsored by:

Montecito Pushes Back on Streamlined Rebuild Process

Not so fast with fast-track rebuilding, leaders tell the county

St. George Files Suit Against Gelb for Unpaid Debt

Pair of Isla Vista landlords in legal tussle over property sales costs.

Thousands of Plaintiffs Added to Refugio Oil Spill Case

Litigation follows footsteps of 1969 Union Oil spill attorneys.

Push Comes to Shove Between Law Enforcement and Mental Health

County supervisors confront too many needs with not enough money.

Helicopter Hits Electrical Wires, Starts Small Fire

A crop duster hit power lines in Ellwood Canyon.