The canon of movies starring Ben Stiller and Vince Vaughn is turning into a machine-gun (I count at least five). In The Watch, the lovable goofballs form a neighbourhood watch scheme. But wait, get this… They find an alien! And it eats people’s skin (yeah, like in Men in Black)!
To say it is lowest common denominator stuff is unfair on the lowest common denominator. The “jokes” skate comfortably between misogyny and farts in a formula that was “perfected” more than a decade ago in American Pie.
A scene in which an alien corpse is abused by the protagonists is presented as gross-out humour but had the (presumably undesired) effect of bringing to mind the pictures of Iraqi prisoners being humiliated by US troops.
Stiller is a bit like Steve Carell on a bad day; he’s got the “down-trodden but essentially likable guy” thing, only with less of the likable.
It also stars Richard Ayoade from The IT Crowd, although it is probably more accurate to say it stars Richard Ayoade’s character from the IT Crowd; like a casting agent saw an episode and said “I want EXACTLY that guy, clothes and all”.
“Maybe kids will appreciate it,” I thought, until I realised there are far too many f***s and c***s and s***s and p****s and other words I have to put stars in for it to have been made for children. This is for adults. Very, very stupid adults.
Maybe I’m being unfair. Maybe you’ll cackle like a demented hyena at every mention of alien jizz or torn hymens. And that’s fine. Really, try not to worry about it. It’s not your fault. It’s not your fault.
First published in City A.M.