Saturday, August 4, 2012

THE WATCH - Jack of all trades, master of none

Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, Jonah Hill? Ridiculous scenario? How could this possibly get any better, a plate of laughs right? Wrong. This film is just as the title of this review describes it - a jack of all trades and master of none. I enjoyed it overall, but I guess with so much comedy and acting talent on the screen I just expected more. The film combines elements of science fiction, action, and comedy  to create a big melting pot of mediocrity. Its enjoyable, but if you're going to the cinema expecting to pee your pants every few minutes, you might want to pick something else.

If your favorite beer is Budweiser and you like Chevrolet, this movie is definitely for you. I lost count of how many times I saw characters drinking Budweiser followed by a gratuitous close up of the Chevrolet badge on the latest brain-dead stay-at-home mom's crossover. Now, I know advertising plays essential parts in movie budgets and so on and so forth but this was just so blunt it felt like there was going to be some cheese ball sales rep in a suit outside the theater after the credits rolled. You know, just in case. That said, there is some entertainment to be found. There are several genuinely funny moments, but the vast majority will get nothing more than a few chuckles out of you. Most of the humor is crude, and unfortunately (as any film buff will tell you) good technique will not make up for bad writing. Don't come to this film looking for originality. There are multiple moments when you can tell the writing had intended that particular scene to be funny - unfortunately it just comes across as awkward because it isn't. I'd also like to mention that just because the characters throw cursing around left right and center doesn't make them funny, so on the extraordinary chance that a budding film writer is reading this - be clever and witty with your humor. Some cursing is ok, and when done well can be hilarious. However, you should never rely on swearing to make something funny. Even with such a talented cast who deliver lines brilliantly, it just doesn't cut it. And really, Jonah Hill's character has a weird thing with his mother again? I'm seeing some bad type-casting in his future.

Granted, the plot in general has some very predictable moments, but most of them still leave you chuckling. There were times when I was outright laughing at what happened on the screen. On the plus side, this movie really captures that boyish recklessness that a lot of male audience members will understand. A scene involving blowing up a cow with a laser beam in particular was great and had me creased with laughter. For the most part, I felt like the plot was mainly used to set up action scenes - some of which are actually pretty good, even for a movie of this genre. You'll get high-speed camera slo-mo, gunfire, alien gore, and all sorts of fun stuff. Even a cool explosion. Is it good enough to redeem this movie? Absolutely not. In many ways, this film reminded me of "That's My Boy" - nothing more than a means to an end, that end being a paycheck for someone other than myself.

Ask yourself that question, because I bet for a lot of you the answer is yes. The uniquely funny moments in this film are few and far between. In fact this movie is mainly dull and such a typical product from the action-comedy genre that there isn't really much to say about it. Rebellious teenage daughter with over protective but semi-secretly crazy father played by (who else?) Vince Vaughn. Dorky guy with a heart of gold and some romantic problems? Ben Stiller, of course. Utter weirdo with mommy issues? Jonah Hill, been there and done that and still have the ticket stub in my jeans as I recall...regardless, there is nothing new to be found here. It's got some laughs, and that's about it. Audio wise, there is some original music that is meant to be intense and exciting - and actually, it makes a few scenes that much cooler. Ok, bases covered there? Good. Next.

Finally, I can be done with this. It was so run-of-the-mill that I didn't even feel like reviewing it. It has a little to say about upscale suburban communities and especially the glorified house husbands that live in them, there was some undertone to a few moments but really this is just a mediocre action-comedy that manages to do neither of those things well at all. You'll smirk a lot, chuckle a bit, laugh a few times, and spend the rest of the time being reminded that just because you saw someone driving a Chevrolet and drinking a Budweiser in a movie doesn't mean you're going to poop your pants if you don't have one immediately after leaving the cinema.

What I loved: Cool action sequences, the 'shooting the alien' scene, gratuitous (totally expected) orgy scene, seeing the credits roll.
What I hated: Everything that didn't make the above list.

Final Rating: 1.5/5 stars, or 45%, or D+. Not worth paying for, wait for the network television premier. 

Agree or disagree, I'd love to hear your thoughts on both this film and this review. Please share this blog wherever you share things, and keep going to the movies!


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