Tag Archive: Ben Stiller

With summer movie season typically being all about the major action blockbuster blowing us away with intense scenes of bullets flying and exploding fireballs melting people’s faces, it’s easy to forget to just laugh once in a while. Lucky for us, there’s The Watch. Starring comedic powerhouses Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, and Jonah Hill, The Watch follows the bumbling antics of four unlikely friends who come upon an alien invasion that will wipe the Earth off the face of the galaxy if they don’t do something about it.

The movie starts with Stiller as the manager of the local Costco. When he arrives for work one day, he finds his night watchman has been killed while on duty…and his skin unceremoniously ripped off his body. With the local police unprepared for such an event, Stiller takes it upon himself to form a neighborhood watch and track down the killer. Enter Vaughn, Hill, and relative newcomer Richard Ayoade to complete the rag tag band of local misfits that quickly get in way over their heads.

Now, to add to the comedy gravitas already of the leading men in this film, we also saw the motion picture directorial debut of Akiva Schaffer, best known for working with Andy Samberg and Jorma Taccone on many of the Saturday Night Live digital shorts of the past few years, and the script was co-written by Seth Rogen. And honestly, sometimes with all those dynamic personalities coming together, you’d expect that the movie would suffer as it was worked to make sure everyone had a chance to shine. But The Watch succeeded in having me literally laugh out loud for much of the movie as everyone had their moments, including Akiva who inserted himself into a hysterical cameo.

The Watch isn’t perfect by any means though. It gets off to a really slow start and for a movie that’s 1 hour and 40 minutes long, the first 40 minutes really is spent just setting up the situation and the personality foundations for the main characters, and I definitely checked my watch a couple of times because of it. The beginning does have a few nice one-liners to not lose you completely, but thankfully that last hour was strong enough to pull it all together with one joke just rolling right into the next.

I also appreciated the fact that once the alien invasion was exposed, the movie took a step away from that and let it just linger there while focusing back in on the dynamic between the four leads. You knew they would get back to it sooner or later, being the major conflict of the movie after all, but the funniest moments of the movie were just the four guys bantering back and forth with this galactic-sized situation on their hands.

I think part of this also is the movie taking full advantage of its R-rating. Not pulling any punches with language, sex, drugs, or violence, The Watch definitely drew a few laughs just by its willingness to occassionally go to places people don’t normally go to outside their home, if ever. Then again, what do you expect from the guy who helped make shorts like “Motherlover” and “D*** in a Box”? This is definitely for adult eyes only folks.

When all was said and done, I could say I genuinely enjoyed The Watch. It had a lot of great moments and once it hits its stride, even though it took a little while longer than expected to get there, the smile never left my face. Stiller, Vaughn, and Hill all hit their notes perfectly and Richard Ayoade may have been the most pleasant surprise of all as he stole several scenes with his expert comedic delivery. If you’re tired of seeing guys in costumes beat up on each other and need a good hearty laugh this summer, The Watch is a fine and funny alternative.

SCORE: 8.0

Well, I expected Puss in Boots to do well enough to be Top 5 as children’s movies always do well no matter what. But $34 million opening weekend and number one spot good? I admit to being a little taken aback by both that and the poor showing from Johnny Depp’s The Rum Diary, which only grossed $5 million. It might be able to bounce back a bit though this week as only a pair of new movies are coming out as we move into a slower movie season and neither one of these new releases really has blockbuster written on it.

1) Tower Heist – When a big business tycoon’s Ponzi scheme robs the workers of a building he owns and lives in of their pensions, they decide to exact a little revenge and rob his next egg of $20 million.

As much as I’d like this movie to do well, I just don’t see it happening. A star-studded cast headlined by Eddie Murphy, Ben Stiller, Alan Alda, and Matthew Broderick and directed by action/comedy veteran Brett Ratner in an Ocean’s Eleven type of heist movie, but with a lot more laughs and a lot less underhandedness just seems like it could be too much for an audience to get behind. Could this ensemble come together and pull off something enjoyable? Maybe, but it won’t be from their lack of talent as much as a lack of solid writing that comes from people trying to balance out all the screen time for that much star power and it could keep this movie from making a significant impact at the box office.

2) A Very Harold and Kumar 3D Christmas – Everyone’s favorite bumbling stoners are back in action. Six years after the escape from Guantanamo Bay, the two end up stumbling into each other around the holidays and accidentally burn down Harold’s father-in-law’s prize Christmas tree as they try to light up for old-time’s sake.

As much as I hate to admit it, these movies are almost like a train wreck in that you can’t help but watch and with having the stoner comedy market cornered for a good while now, it’s no surprise these keep getting made as Kal Penn and John Cho have basically become the Cheech and Chong of a new generation. Throw in that these movies are the cause of Neil Patrick Harris’s resurgence in Hollywood and that they are worth watching just to see what debauchery he’ll get in as he plays “himself” and, although I believe neither of these movies featured this week will strike it rich this weekend, it wouldn’t surprise me if A Very Harold and Kumar 3D Christmas outperformed Tower Heist at the box office.