Cinema Review: The Watch

 

DIR: Akiva Schaffer • WRI: Jared Stern, Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg • PRO: Shawn Levy, Tom McNulty • DOP: Barry Peterson • ED: Dean Zimmerman • DES: Doug J. Meerdink • CAST: Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, Jonah Hill, Richard Ayoade

 

Evan Trautwig (Stiller) loves his life as a self-appointed community leader and the devoted manager of a Costco in Glenview, Ohio. His saccharinely positive existence is drastically changed forever when a mysterious creature rips apart the security guard and his store.

 

Determined to find the murderer, Evan decides to form yet another club, a Neighbourhood Watch, but he’s left disappointed when the only volunteers are a bunch of slackers. Jamarcus (Ayoade), Franklin (Hill) and Bob (Vaughn) just want to blow off steam and spend their time on the job hanging out, drinking beers and generally irking the local po-po. However when they stumble across some otherworldly technology, they soon realise what they’re dealing with is less of a serial killer and more like ET on Steroids.

 

Re-penned by the duo behind Superbad (Seth Rogan and Evan Goldberg); directed by Lonely Island’s Akiva Schaffer; and featuring the comedic juggernauts Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, Jonah Hill plus the fantastic UK export Richard Ayoade – The Watch is a current who’s who in comedy. Although filled to the absolute brim with talent, The Watch does not gel well as a film.

 

Admittedly it’s dappled with hilarious jokes and shrewd humour – but there’s a tone of uncertainty throughout, which means most of it falls quite flat. The genre teeters awkwardly between spoof-comedy and B-movie; the characters are written as bizarre, bland or just stereotypes; and there are an awful lot of smoking guns left unexplained or just abandoned.

 

Don’t get me wrong The Watch is in no way an awful film, just not the iconic one it could have been.

 

Gemma Creagh

 

Rated 15A (see IFCO website for details)

102 mins

The Watch is released on 24th August 2012

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9G8rzHJsWpM

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The Dilemma

The Dilemma

DIR: Ron Howard • WRI: Allan Loeb • PRO: Brian Grazer, Vince Vaughn • DOP: Salvatore Totino • ED: Daniel P. Hanley, Mike Hill• DES: Daniel B. Clancy • CAST: Vince Vaughn, Kevin James, Jennifer Connelly
Vince Vaughan looks wrecked. It’s sad watching him in The Dilemma dragging his bloated corpse-like body around, his huffing, breathless delivery killing his lines – not that they don’t deserve it. The Dilemma has caused a bit of a stir in the States over its use of the word ‘gay’ as a pejorative. True to the form of these things, the speech where the word is used is about the only decent thing in this collection of tired routines and irritating characters.

Ronny (Vaughan) and Nick (Kevin James) are best friends. They build engines together and have an important meeting with General Motors in a few days. So when Ronny sees Nick’s wife (Winona Ryder) kissing another man (Channing Tatum) he can’t decide whether to tell him or not. An episode of Fraiser could – and did – deal with the same idea funnier, more honestly and in a quarter of the running time. But this doesn’t even have enough material for a 25-minute TV episode. As plot complications and comedy characters are thrown into the mix you get a sense of the desperation of filmmakers who found that what they had (standard comedy fallbacks like the inappropriate speech to disapproving parents or slapstick while spying on cheating couple) wasn’t enough fill up the running time. But when a film is two hours long, as this is, they can’t even have that excuse for putting out dross like this.

At first it seemed like this was going to be yet another comedy with a stubbornly straight male view of relationships, but in fact no one in this film behaves like a real person. Every relationship is contrived and unconvincing, especially the cynical attempt at bromance. Jennifer Connolly plays Ronny’s girlfriend, Beth. She’s intelligent, is friends with Nick and his wife, and Ronny wants to marry her. And yet he never tells her what’s going on. We’re never told why, because the writers clearly don’t know why, except that if he did there wouldn‘t be a movie. This film is a concept without a screenplay. Instead of dialogue the script consists of speeches (mostly extended metaphors about ice-cream or American football) that clearly had the filmmakers splitting their sides, but fall flat on screen. And it follows the worst rule of comedy that states that when one person is talking no amount of interruptions can stop them so everyone else is forced to sit and listen, helplessly, like defendants at a show-trial. I felt much the same.

Geoff McEvoy

Rated 12A (see IFCO website for details)
The Dilemma
is released on 21st January 2011

The Dilemma Official Website

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