Misfits save the world in “The Watch”

Well, if Will Smith is not available to assume his persona of Capt.
Steven Hiller or Agent J to put down misbehavin’ aliens, you can
always call the neighborhood watch. But if the watch squad consists
of Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn and Jonah Hill, you might be better off
packing up and fleeing.

The premise of “The Watch,” penned by the “Pineapple Express” duo of
Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg (also co-writing was Jared Stern whose
previous effort was “Mr. Popper’s Penguins”) is that a nice town in
Ohio is being covertly overtaken by aliens and it is up to a bumbling
foursome of self-appointed neighborhood watch commandos to thwart an
invasion.

The result is yet another raunchy comedy that has some funny moments
that will stand out while the rest of the movie will be forgotten.

The strength of “The Watch” is in the casting, as Stiller, Vaughn
and Hill step into roles they have done before. Stiller once again
plays the straight man, a decent, generally even-tempered guy thrown
into absurd situations in which he has to be a leader, with a bunch
of misfit followers. In this movie he portrays Evan, a happily
married man who has worked his way up the management ladder at the
local Costco. When a security guard at the store is killed in the
most hideous way, Evan is galvanized to start up a neighborhood watch
program and accomplish something the local police seem incapable of
– catching the killer.

Evan’s recruiting efforts only attract three people. Vaughn does
another variation on his borderline lunatic characters, playing Bob,
an energetic guy trying to straddle a line between being a
responsible parent and an aging partier.

Then there is Hill as Franklin, the grown-up kid. Much like his
character Cyrus in the movie of the same name, his Franklin still
lives at home with his mother. This character also borrows traits
from Rogen’s “Observe and Report,” wherein Rogen’s Ronnie in that
movie was a law enforcement hotshot wannabe still too dependent on
his mother. Hill does add an edginess, always fingering a
switchblade, displaying a volatile temperament and a pathological
inability to keep his hands off Evan’s wife.

The fourth in this crew is Jamarcus (Richard Ayoade), looking like
he just dropped in from a “Revenge of the Nerds” movie. He seems to
be a gentle soul but with a wicked set of fantasies.

Evan tries to be the thread that holds this goofy group together,
but it is Bob with his beer-drinking, let’s-have-fun attitude that
proves to be the soul of this quartet, especially when they get hold
of an alien contraption that can blow things up, leading these guys
to go on a spree of destruction.

Soon they discover that the murder of the security guard was the
work of aliens and with the sarcastic Sgt. Bressman (Will Forte)
blowing off the claims of an imminent invasion, it is up to Evan and
company to save not only their hometown, but the world as well.

There are some subplots functioning only as padding to get this movie
up to at least 100 minutes in length. One involves
Bob’s dealings with his rebellious daughter Chelsea (Erin Moriarty).
Another centers on Evan’s love life with his wife Abby (Rosemarie
DeWitt, her talents mostly wasted here). Billy Crudup does an uncredited turn as
Paul, Evan’s creepy neighbor who may be an alien but whose character
turns out to be inconsequential.

The humor is definitely adult oriented, with touches of sweetness
injected here and there. “The Watch” is lifted by the work of
Stiller, Vaughn and Hill, who fit comfortably into their roles. Rogen
and Goldberg did more memorable work with “Pineapple Express,” but
“The Watch” is a competent enough diversion from the summer
blockbusters.

Birthdays in August: Affleck Brothers, FBI’s Mulder AND Scully,
DeNiro, Hoffman, Redford and more.

Ben Affleck hits the big 4-0 in August, celebrating it on Aug. 15.
Meanwhile, “baby” brother Casey will turn 37 on Aug. 12. Also turning
40: Angie Harmon, aka Det. Jane Rizzoli, and Cameron Diaz

BIRTHDAY MILESTONES
20: Demi Lovato
30: LeAnn Rimes
40: Ben Affleck, Cameron Diaz, Geri Halliwell, Angie Harmon, Chris
Tucker
50: Steve Carell, Rebecca DeMornay, John Slattery
60: Pee Wee Herman
70: Giancarlo Giannini
80: Peter O’Toole, Mel Tillis

Birthdays: Amy Adams (8-20) 38, Ben Affleck (8-15) 40, Casey Affleck (8-12) 37,
Joan Allen (8-20) 56, Gillian Anderson (8-9) 44, Ian Anderson (8-10)
65, Loni Anderson (8-5) 66, Anne Archer (8-25) 65, Rosanna Arquette
(8-10) 53, Elizabeth Ashley (8-30) 73, Richard Attenborough (8-29)
89, Eric Bana (8-9) 44, Antonio Banderas (8-10) 52, Angela Bassett
(8-16) 54, Catherine Bell (8-14) 44, Richard Belzer (8-4) 68, Tony
Bennett (8-3) 86, Halle Berry (8-14) 46, Rachel Bilson (8-25) 31,
Tempet Bledsoe (8-1) 39, Ann Blyth (8-16) 84, Timothy Bottoms (8-30)
61,Sarah Brightman (8-14) 52, Ty Burrell (8-22) 45, Tim Burton (8-25)
54.

James Cameron (8-16) 58, Steve Carell (816) 50, Vanessa Carlton
(8-16) 32, Eric Carmen (8-11) 63, Kim Cattrall (8-21) 56, Dave
Chappelle (8-24) 39, Michael Chiklis (8-30) 49, Sean Connery (8-25)
82, Mike Connors (8-15) 87,Elvis Costell (8-25) 58, David Crosby
(8-14) 71,Macaulay Culkin (8-26) 32, Billy Ray Cyrus (8-25) 51,
Arlene Dahl (8-11) 84, Viola Davis (8-11) 47, Rebecca DeMornay (8-29)
50, Robert DeNiro (8-17) 69, Cameron Diaz (8-30) 40, Kevin Dillon
(8-19) 47, David Duchovny (8-7) 52, Barbara Eden (8-23) 78, Sam
Elliott (8-9) 68.

William Friedkin (8-29) 73, Stephen Fry (8-24) 55, Peter Gallagher
(8-19) 57, Richard Gere (8-31) 63, Giancarlo Giannini (8-1) 70,
Deborah Gibson (8-31) 42, Frank Gifford (8-16) 82, Cathy Lee Gifford
(8-16) 59, Anita Gillette (8-16) 76, John Glover (8-7) 68, Eydie
Gorme (8-16) 81, Elliott Gould (8-29) 74, Bruce Greenwood (8-12) 56,
Melanie Griffith (8-9) 55, Steve Guttenberg (8-24) 54, Monty Hall
(8-25) 91, Geri Halliwell (8-6) 40, George Hamilton (8-12) 73, Marcia
Gay Harden, (8-14) 54, Dorian Harewood (8-6) 62, Angie Harmon (8-10)
40, Tess Harper (8-15) 62, Valerie Harper (8-22) 72, Pat Harrington
(8-13) 83, Chris Hemsworth (8-11) 29, Pee Wee Herman (8-27) 60,
Catherine Hicks (8-6) 61, Dustin Hoffman (8-8) 75, Geoffrey Holder
(8-1) 82, Timothy Hutton (8-16) 52, Laura Innes (8-16) 53, Wayne
Knight (8-7) 57, Mila Kunis (8-14) 29, John Landis (8-3), 62,
Jennifer Lawrence (8-15) 22, Denis Leary (8-18) 55, Shelley Long
(8-23) 63, Demi Lovato (8-20) 20.

Madonna (8-16) 54, Aimee Mann (8-9) 52, Steve Martin (8-14) 67,
Marlee Matlin (8-24) 47, Debi Mazur (8-13), 48, Melissa McCarthy
(8-26) 42, Gerald McRaney (8-19) 65, Sam Mendes (8-1) 47, Debra
Messing (8-15) 44, Lea Michele (8-29) 26, Vera Miles (8-23) 83, Van
Morrison (8-31) 67, Carrie-Ann Moss (8-21) 45, Diana Maldaur (8-19)
74, Martin Mull (8-18) 69, Edward Norton (8-18) 43, Maureen O’Hara
(8-17) 91, Peter O’Toole (8-2) 80, Debra Paget (8-19), 79, Hayden
Panettiere (8-21) 23, Sean Penn (8-17) 52, Matthew Perry (8-19) 43,
Nehemian Persoff (8-2) 92 or 93 (different years from different
sources), Regis Philbin (8-25) 81, Robert Plant (8-20) 64, Roman
Polanski (8-18) 79, Jason Priestly ((8-28) 43.

Sara Ramirez (8-31 37, Robert Redford (8-18) 76, Joe Regalbuto (8-24)
63, LeAnn Rimes (8-28) 30, Rose Marie (8-15) 89, Susan St. James
(8-14) 66, Jill St. John (8-19) 72, Andy Samberg (8-18) 34, Emma Sams
(8-28) 52, John Saxon (8-5) 77, Claudia Schiffer (8-25) 42, Kyra
Sedgwick (8-19) 47, Martin Sheen (8-3) 72, M. Night Shyamalan (8-6)
42, Jonathan Silverman (8-5) 46, Gene Simmons (8-25) 63, Tom Skerritt
(8-25) 79, Christian Slater (8-18) 43, John Slattery (8-13) 50, Erika
Slezak (8-5) 66, Kevin Smith (8-2) 42, David Soul (8-28) 69, Rick
Springfield (8-23) 63, John Stamos (8-19) 49, Daniel Stern (8-28) 55,
Connie Stevens (8-8) 74, Madeline Stowe (8-18) 54, Audrey Tautou
(8-9) 34, Charlize Theron (8-7) 37, Jack Thompson (8-31) 72, Mel
Tillis (8-8) 80, Chris Tucker (8-31) 40, Shania Twain (8-28) 47.

Blair Underwood (8-25) 48, Alexa Vega (8-27) 24, Malcolm-Jamal Warner
(8-18) 42, Lesley Ann Warren (8-16) 66, Isaiah Washington (8-3) 49,
Peter Weir (8-21) 68, Tuesday Weld (8-27) 69, Joanne Whatley (8-25)
48, Kristen Wiig (8-22) 39, Cindy Williams (8-22) 65, Esther Williams
(8-8) 91, Chandra Williams (8-27) 43, Alicia Witt (8-21) 37, Sam
Worthington (8-2) 36.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>