'The Watch'

'The Watch'
  • ‘The Watch’
  • Starring: Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn
  • Directed by: Akiva Schaffer
  • Rated: R

If no one turned out last weekend to watch “The Watch,” don’t blame the wall-to-wall coverage of the Olympics. There just wasn’t much to see. This is not a total disaster, but it comes close.

Producers should have realized when the name of this had to be shortened from “Neighborhood Watch” to “The Watch” because of the controversial Trayvon Martin shooting in Florida earlier this year that maybe it should have just been put on hold.

Add to that references throughout the movie to guns, murder and such that would not have raised an eyebrow two weeks ago but now seem in shockingly poor taste after the movie theater massacre in Aurora, Colo.

If there is anything that saves this, it is the camaraderie between its stars — Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, Jonah Hill and Richard Ayoade. The breezy riffs, which seem mostly improvised, create a real sense of a buddy system even though what transpires is totally ridiculous.

Set in a fictitious suburb called Glenview, Stiller is Evan, the local Costco manager married to wife Abby (Rosemarie DeWitt). When the store’s night guard meets a gruesome death, the local constabulary led by a snarky cop played by Will Forte feigns little interest in actually solving the crime, so Evan forms a neighborhood watch group to do the job.

Joining Evan to protect and serve are Bob (Vaughn), a fast talking family man looking for some buddies to hang with, cop wannabe Franklin (Hill) who still lives with his mother, and Jamarcus (Ayoade), who just wants to meet women. The four actually justify their purpose when they accidentally stumble into an alien invasion about to take place with Glenview as ground zero.

Written by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, it’s not hard to imagine the juvenile tone that permeates this. Most of the humor is derived from the guy talk — gross, nasty guy talk. Some of it kind of funny and most of it not at all. But then I’m not an 18 year-old male for whom this movie earned an R rating. Still I can imagine some of this dialog would make anyone blush.

The comedy is sparsely populated with laughs mostly from Vaughn, a comic overachiever if ever there was one, but this “Watch” is not worth watching.