Thursday, July 26, 2012

Close Encounters of the Inane Kind

The Watch       WWW Score: 77%

Any film that features Vince Vaughn killing an alien by tearing off its penis can't be a labelled a total hunk of junk. In fact, in my cinematic rating system, that's big time bonus points for profound use of peurile vulgarity.

And that's just a small taste of the genitalia jokes in The Watch, a sci-fi, raunch-com that inexplicably - barely - clears my recommendation hurdle.

Soaring in from space to the fictitious Ohio burg of Glenview, we settle in on Ben Stiller AKA Evan Trautwig, award-winning manager of the local Costco. Yes, it's a Costco, not something mega-lame like "Warehouse World" - another extra credit point for the film.

After one of his store's security guards is slaughtered by some unseen beast, Stiller creates his "Neighborhood Watch" (the film's pre-George Zimmerman/Trayvon Martin title), consisting of Vaughn, Jonah Hill and some random British bloke named Richard Ayoade.

In an effort to make the burbs a bit safer, the motley crew sets out on one of the most fantastically bizarre mashups of sci-fi and crude humor ever. Fine, the only attempted melding of those two mismatched genres in the history of film. It's Signs set in a Costco with a suburban sex party for good measure.

Fantastically bizarre indeed.

The laughs are erratic and designed strictly for your inner 15-year-old, but having the names Stiller and Vaughn on the marquee should serve as a strong clue to the contents. I lost count the number of times some variation of a joke involving semen showed up - it's well into the twenties.

Vaughn delivers his perfunctory diarrhea-of-the-mouth diatribes, Stiller does his "I'm socially askew" act and the seemingly miscast Hill scores some of the bigger laughs as an outcast who's prodigiously skilled with a switchblade.

While The Watch may appear to be nothing more than a "been there, done that" exercise from Stiller and Vaughn, the spectacularly ludicrous addition of a body-snatching alien invasion to the mix makes for a smashing On-Demand selection in say six months or so.