(Comedy, R, 98 minutes)
Once again, Cobb County has served as the backdrop for a major motion picture. Too bad you won’t be able to bring young children to point out local landmarks and neighborhoods.
“The Watch” opens today and stars Ben Stiller, Jonah Hill, Vince Vaughn and British actor Richard Ayoade. The film was directed by Akiva Schaffer, one-third of The Lonely Island (Andy Samberg of “Saturday Night Live” and Jorma Taccone round out the comedy group). Seth Rogen, actor and producer, is also one of the screenwriters.
With these comedy pros at the helm, laughs are guaranteed. So is an unnecessary amount of raunchy jokes and over-the-top vulgarities, so much that a lot of the humor was lost. I typically don’t mind R-rated comedies, but this one was too much for me at times. Maybe I’m getting old and/or out of touch, but I digress ...
Evan (Stiller) lives in Glenview, Ohio, with his wife, Abby (Rosemarie DeWitt). He is the creator of his neighborhood’s running and Spanish club, and he loves his job managing Costco. His neighborhood and city seem idyllic until one of his employees is murdered. In an effort to seek justice for the man whom Evan also regarded as a friend, he starts a Neighborhood Watch program.
Interest is low, and only three others show up to the first meeting. Bob (Vaughn), a foul-mouthed father of a foul-mouthed teenage daughter; Franklin (Hill), a police academy reject; and Jamarcus (Ayoade), who is “happily divorced.” Evan sees it as a chance to find his friend’s killer, but the others see it as chance to get away from home, drink beer and wear cool jackets with tigers and flames, courtesy of Bob.
The group isn’t taken seriously by their neighbors or the local police, but things change when they discover aliens have invaded their neighborhood with the intent of eradicating the planet. With a definite target, the foursome set out to save Earth — with a host of F-bombs and rated-X humor in tow.
Stiller and Vaughn have acted alongside each other in silly comedies such as “Dodgeball” and “Anchorman” — two films I can quote nearly from beginning to end — but “The Watch” isn’t among their best. Both bring their trademark humor to it, but the film went from being really funny to really, really stupid.
Hill fit in well with his co-stars and was the most funny when paired with Vaughn. It seemed like they improvised many of their lines, which isn’t a surprise. However, the humor was on a 12-year-old boy’s level, complete with cracks about the human anatomy, body fluids and other things I won’t mention. I think the writers could have tried harder to be more clever at times, but they just chose not to.
Nevertheless, it was fun to see snippets of the county. It won’t be hard to spot the Marietta Square, and Campbell High School’s football field makes a huge showing in the movie — go Spartans!
“The Watch” serves its purpose of being a comedy, but it’s fairly predictable. Some personal issues arise for some of the characters in the midst of the alien invasion, but the bulk of the movie is a silly comedy about aliens and four guys trying to wipe them out.
Word to the wise: Leave the kids at home for this one. You’ll spend so much time shielding their eyes and covering their ears that you will miss half the movie. Although Cobb is a place for the entire family, this movie is only for those 18 and older.