Numb­skulls hard to watch

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - MOVIES - LEIGH PAATSCH

TO get any­thing worth­while from The Watch, best bring along a lot of pa­tience and for­give­ness and leave your long- term mem­ory at home.

For if you be­gin to re­mem­ber how funny stars Ben Stiller and Vince Vaughn used to be, their new movie can get kind of sad at times.

In the lead­ing role, Stiller serves up yet an­other one of his pas­sive- ag­gres­sive con­trol- freak wimps. These Greg Fock­er­ish char­ac­ters are get­ting in­creas­ingly hard to like. Let alone laugh at.

Vaughn just rushes through his work on one of two set­tings: twitchy or tetchy.

The pair spear­head a numb­skull neigh­bour­hood watch group that some­how stum­bles upon an im­mi­nent alien in­va­sion.

The big takeover of our planet is go­ing to start at a dis­count shop­ping ware­house and, nat­u­rally, the lo­cal cops fail to heed re­peated warn­ings of the catas­tro­phe about to hap­pen.

The threat of an ex­tra- ter­res­trial at­tack is shoved to one side for the first two acts of The Watch. Prob­a­bly a good idea. Last year’s UK cult hit At­tack the Block used up all the good ma­te­rial on the sub­ur­ban­ites- ver­sus- space front.

In­stead, the jokey fo­cus stays on the de­luded dy­nam­ics afoot inside Stiller and Vaughn’s mini- mili­tia, of which Jonah Hill ( wasted as a dis­turbed weapons nut) and The IT Crowd’s Richard Ayoade ( a stand­out as a kinky Brit just in it in for the chicks) are also key mem­bers.

There is bick­er­ing. Brewskis. Bond­ing. Some more bick­er­ing. And so on.

Writ­ing team Seth Ro­gen and Evan Gold­berg punched up the script of The Watch and they’re swing­ing and miss­ing a hell of a lot here.

Com­pared to the ha- ha hand­i­work of Ro­gen and Gold­berg on Su­per­bad and Pineap­ple Ex­press, this is very ho- hum stuff.

This is not to say The Watch is with­out its share of qual­ity com­edy mo­ments. When they do oc­cur, the laughs are earned le­git­i­mately.

How­ever, the movie has a chronic habit of sud­denly switch­ing from amus­ing its au­di­ence to seem­ingly amus­ing it­self.

You’ll know what I mean when you see The Watch. The same gags are looped over and over again with only the slight­est of vari­a­tions, usu­ally to do with the point­ing of guns or groins.

The pro­duc­tion sure looks like it would have been great fun to make, but the party clearly stopped hap­pen­ing when­ever the cam­eras started up.

Now show­ing Vil­lage Cine­mas

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