The Watch Blu-ray Review
Glenview, Ohio is a clean community populated by smiling faces. It doesn’t seem like the kind of town that would need a neighborhood watch. But when a nighttime security guard is murdered and skinned, popular resident and Costco manager Evan (Ben Stiller) launches such a program to investigate and protect, enlisting the aid of only a small group of volunteers.
At the inaugural meeting: Bob (Vince Vaughn), a family man looking for some time away from his family; Franklin (Jonah Hill), a high school dropout with aspirations of joining the police force; and Jamarcus (Richard Ayoade), happily divorced and out for some tail. The recruits want to do nothing but sit around and guzzle beers. Evan, meanwhile, wants to catch the killer. Then, more bodies turn up and the team discovers something more out-of-this-world is behind the murders. Who are these creatures? Can they take the form of a Glenview resident? Do we bother to pretend to be interested or amused for 102 minutes?
Akiva Schaffer’s sophomore feature (his debut was 2007’s HOT ROD, starring fellow SATURDAY NIGHT LIVEr Andy Samberg) uses that runtime to dish out as many urine, ejaculate and penis jokes as it can (guess where the aliens need to be shot to be killed!). Despite the R rating, THE WATCH’s target audience may have been middle school boys. And since THE WATCH was co-written by Seth Rogen, it’s hard not to wonder exactly how many of these childish gags are leftovers from another recent idiot-in-a-uniform comedy, OBSERVE AND REPORT.
The near-all-star cast (Stiller, Vaughn and Hill are all familiar and loved; most can’t pronounce “Ayoade”) should make THE WATCH a popular home video rental, which would make up for the poor box office performance (which, I suspect, had as much to do with the rating as it did the reviews): Stiller plays his role with ease; Vaughn seems to have a ball; Hill has a few good lines; and Ayoade chimes in when the lines wouldn’t sound right from the mouth of a bankable star. Of the lot, only Stiller and Hill are above this kind of material. Stiller may have headlined NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM 2 and Hill THE SITTER, but they still have THE ROYAL TENENBAUMS and MONEYBALL to their respective credits. (Director/The Lonely Island member Schaffer, too, might be served better elsewhere, seeing as he has yet to top SNL successes “Dick in a Box” and “Motherlover.”)
Other notables that show up include SNL alum Will Forte as a misinformed cop, Rosemarie DeWitt as Stiller’s wife, an uncredited Billy Crudup as a curious neighbor, and R. Lee Ermey as, it seems, himself. Still, there is one positive to be found in THE WATCH. The sole aspect that is inspired and had a certain amount of effort put into it is the design of the aliens. They are given a slimy, threatening look could have done the lizards from SIGNS some good. Instead, they’re in THE WATCH, a movie that probably didn’t need aliens in the first place.
Video: 2.35:1 in 1080p with MPEG-4 AVC codec. THE WATCH looks great on Blu-ray, with a great clarity and detail in both daytime and nighttime scenes. The element that shows up the best is undoubtedly the alien.
Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1; French Dolby Digital 5.1. THE WATCH has a surprising amount of sound effects (including those triggered from guns and lasers), all of which come through without flaw. The dialogue is also nice, but viewers will want to make sure their surround sound speakers are plugged in to get the full effect of the more action-oriented scenes.
Deleted Scenes (24:39): There are 12 here: “Costco Opening Sequence Extended,” “Eulogy/Phone Call,” “Abby Car,” “Kidnapping Evan,” “Passing Out Jackets Extended,” “Investigating Football Field,” “Car Crash Extended,” “Chelsea in Garage,” “Bressman Visits Evan,” “Franklin & Bob in Car,” “Teen Party 1 Extended,” and “Teen Party 2 Extended.”
Gag Reel (3:41): If you wanted proof that the cast had more fun shooting THE WATCH than you had watching it, here you go.
Jonah Alternate Takes (5:39): This compilation offers some of Jonah Hill’s improvisations.
Watchmakers (12:16): This standard piece uses interviews (with Akiva Schaffer, Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, Jonah Hill, and more) and clips to promote the movie.
Alien Invasions & You (1:48): Schaffer, Vaughn and more briefly discuss how they’d react to an alien invasion.
Casting the Alien (5:24): This faux interview has a pretend alien actor discussing his role as the villain in THE WATCH.
Also included is a DVD/Digital Copy of THE WATCH.