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The UnPopular Opinion: The Watch

07.30.2015

THE UNPOPULAR OPINION is an ongoing column featuring different takes on films that either the writer HATED, but that the majority of film fans LOVED, or that the writer LOVED, but that most others LOATHED. We're hoping this column will promote constructive and geek fueled discussion. Enjoy!

****SOME SPOILERS ENSUE****

Watching the trailer for PIXELS, you cannot help but feel the influence of GHOSTBUSTERS. A team of specialists looked at like losers by the outside world banding together to fight a supernatural menace? Yeah, that is basically the plot of GHOSTBUSTERS. But, while Ivan Reitman's classic comedy is being remade next year under the direction of Paul Feig, fans are still claiming nothing is on par with the original team of Bill Murray, Dan Akyroyd, Harold Ramis, and Ernie Hudson. But, I think we saw such a film in the summer of 2012 in the form of the underrated THE WATCH.

Under the direction of The Lonely Island's Akiva Schaeffer and written by Jared Stern along with THIS IS THE END's Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, THE WATCH had everything going for it to be the 21st century GHOSTBUSTERS. You had the leading talents of Ben Stiller, Jonah Hill, Vince Vaughn, and THE IT Crowd's Richard Ayoade, all of whom are adept at improv, in a film that pits the average suburbanite against an alien invasion. The scale may not have been as big as PIXELS, but THE WATCH is a seriously funny movie that fans never gave a chance.

What made GHOSTBUSTERS work was the scale. There was a menace in New York City and these four "experts" teamed to stop it. PIXELS is four geeks against the world. But, THE WATCH is four normal guys battling an alien "invasion" that can be defeated by ripping of their penises. Yes, this is not a highbrow story of existentialism told through the guise of a science fiction apocalypse. This is dick and fart joke territory with four actors who excel at such humor. The disconnect with THE WATCH and audiences could stem from the fact that it seems like a PG-13 movie that was released as an R-rated one, but this is a movie that is aimed right at the same crowds who went to see THIS IS THE END and even Edgar Wright's THE WORLD'S END.

While I concede that both of those aforementioned films are superior to THE WATCH, this film benefits greatly from the presence of Richard Ayoade. The actor plays his character like a foul-mouthed Mr. Spock which gives him an other-worldly demeanor that fits right into the reveal of his character. THE WATCH plays with the dynamics of the alien invasion film and the buddy movie genre while all the while aiming to make audiences laugh. The film feels like scenes put together that worked well on set and sometimes don't work well with the narrative flow of the movie, but this is by no means a film that wins on the cohesiveness of it's script but rather the talents of these actors on screen.

The advertising on display in THE WATCH, primarily from Budweiser and CostCo, is distracting on a TRANSFORMERS level, but it feeds into the negative stereotypes of suburban America which makes me wonder if the sponsors even realized what they were getting into by lending their names to this film. THE WATCH is raunchy in the best way possible. Audiences may have flocked to this film if Seth Rogen and James Franco had played the leads or even Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg. Vince Vaughn and Ben Stiller seem to have worn out their welcome with this type of humor, but fans are missing out on some great jokes.

THE WATCH suffered from some negative publicity due to the fact it was being marketed just as the news of Trayvon Martin's death was a top media story. His death at the hands of George Zimmerman, member of his local neighborhood watch. While this forced a title change for the film and the two were unlikely to connect in the minds of most audiences, one cannot help but wonder if it possibly played a part in the lackluster box office performance. It is a shame that such a serious societal event led to a movie paying the price as this is truly a fun romp that is by no means meant to be taken seriously.

Ultimately, THE WATCH is a movie that benefits from being viewed on demand. The jokes and action set pieces work in smaller doses and as something you can stumble across on cable. While that may not sound like a resoundingly positive review of the film, it is a sentiment shared by most movies like ANCHORMAN, THE OTHER GUYS, and STEP BROTHERS. Come across PINEAPPLE EXPRESS or THE INTERVIEW and you are likely to hit on a funny moment at any time in the film. THE WATCH is like those films and deserves a second look. Or first if you skipped it the first time around.

Oh, and if you have any suggestions for The UnPopular Opinion I’m always happy to hear them. You can send along an email to [email protected], spell it out below, slap it up on my wall in Movie Fan Central, or send me a private message via Movie Fan Central. Provide me with as many movie suggestions as you like, with any reasoning you'd care to share, and if I agree then you may one day see it featured in this very column!
Source: JoBlo.com

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