MOVIE: ***1/2 (out of 5)
BLU-RAY EXPERIENCE: *** (out of 5)
BY KEVIN CARR
This summer, the off-beat comedy “The Watch” seemed to be lost and swallowed up by the bigger films. Cut from a slightly similar cloth, this movie buried a story of alien invasion into a raunchy comedy. With Ben Stiller and Vince Vaughn in the mix, the film threatened to become a weak retread of their funnier films. However, I was pleasantly surprised with this movie when I saw it.
And not only did “The Watch” hold up with a second viewing on Blu-ray. I think it actually improved upon itself.
The story follows a rag-tag group of neighbors in an upper-scale community who band together to make a neighborhood watch when a security guard is murdered at the local Costco. Soon, the group stumbles upon a greater threat: aliens lying in wait in the community, getting ready to launch an invasion.
The cover box (and original theatrical poster) for “The Watch” features Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, Jonah Hill… and some other guy. This other guy is Richard Ayoade, who most people won’t recognize because his filmography isn’t very big, and he’s not done much in the United States. However, Ayoade (whose greatest claim to fame at the moment is a part in the British Channel 4 series “The IT Crowd”) is the guy who steals the show.
What works best in this film is that it balances the comedy and the lines among all four of its leads. It’s impossible to peg “The Watch” as a Ben Stiller comedy, or a Vince Vaughn flick, or a Jonah Hill vehicle. (I’ll stop there, because let’s face it, no one is calling this a Richard Ayoade headliner.) Instead, the actors play off each other, allowing each his chance to shine in the mix. Sure, this allows Ayoade to come out on top in most scenes, but that shows a healthy, generous nature of his co-stars.
“The Watch” is raunchy in the right parts, and it also has a bit of heart when it needs to. Not a classic work of science fiction, this movie still works as a comedic sci-fi romp. Like this year’s “21 Jump Street,” “The Watch” works when it needs to and made me laugh far more than I ever expected it to.
The Blu-ray includes a selection of deleted scenes that are unrated (if in name only rather than actually so controversial and raunchy that they couldn’t be rated), plus a gag reel and a slate of alternate takes from Jonah Hill. There’s also the featurette “Watchmakers” that serves as a behind-the-scenes documentary. Additional featurettes are the in-character whimsical “Alien Invasions & You” as well as “Casting the Alien” which interviews the creature in the film.