The Watch 1½/4 a movie review

September 13, 2012 by James Berardinelli - Reelviews
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Comedy-based “science fiction” needn’t be universally appalling but, to work, it has to be handled with more skill and care than is evident here…writes James Berardinelli.

The Watch is a studio turd marinated in eau de skunk that stinks worse than week-old fish. It might have been possible to pass off The Watch as a rip-off of Men in Black if two forgettable sequels hadn’t claimed that distinction. Instead it feels like a rip-off of a rip-off of a rip-off, or something like that. Even at a slim 95 minutes, it’s a study in tedium – of seeing how much recycled junk and tired punch lines a captive audience will endure. Someone mentioned to me that, after seeing the trailer, he had no desire to experience The Watch in its full glory. Truth be told, the trailer makes this look more watchable than it is.

Reading between the lines, one gets the feeling that 20th Century Fox had limited confidence in the movie’s box-office potential. Releasing it one week after The Dark Knight Rises, on a second weekend when the Batman movie is expected to dominate at the turnstiles, is only marginally better than tossing the movie into the dumping ground of February. The Watch was supposedly intended to be a Will Ferrell vehicle, but Ferrell either passed or withdrew, which begs the question: How bad does a comedy have to be for Will Ferrell to turn it down? At any rate, Ben Stiller stepped in, filling a role for which he is obviously miscast. His co-stars are Vince Vaughn, who does his usual shtick, which involves gesticulating and talking loudly; Jonah Hill, who does a variation on his usual shtick; and Richard Ayoade, who relies on his offbeat looks and accent to get laughs.


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