irected by Akiva Schaffer. Starring Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn and Jonah Hill
I must admit I felt somewhat protective when I saw that for the purposes of this film Hollywood had abducted The IT Crowd’s mollycoddled and socially inept Moss, beaming him straight from the dingy, underground IT department of Reynholm Industries to Ben Stiller’s doorstep, still wearing his loud sweater vest and signature specs. But it seems the costume designer wasn’t the only unimaginative component of this film. The overwhelming feeling whilst watching was that I’d somehow seen it all before. The recurring location of free-samples-galore-Costco is mildly humorous at times but has been used as a backdrop for Employee of The Month along with a plethora of countless other mediocre exports. The Watch themselves serve merely as a poor man’s Ghostbusters in blue satin jackets, sans the catchy theme tune and even the aliens look familiar. It’s borderline plagiarism aplenty, paying homage to films like The Hangover far too soon after their release.
The characters too are equally as mundane as the Ohio town of Glenview they inhabit: an assemblage composed of Vaughan’s All-American Bachelor type, his rebellious teen daughter and a suburbanite couple struggling to have a baby are seemingly plucked from the centre of the Venn diagram of the personas belonging to this decade’s most banal and predictable films. Stiller’s painfully anal manager of the aforementioned wholesale store is worryingly convincing but the only slightly interesting chap is played by comedy go-to guy of the moment Jonah Hill, whose delusional aspirant cop with psychopathic undertones is more sinister than I’ve seen him before. His presence (and the concentration of phallus-centric jokes) reminded me of this year’s genuinely funny 21 Jump Street, pining for a film that did this genre of humour with so much more finesse.
I’m not going to deny that I was tickled in parts, but they were undeniably guilty laughs. The truth is this film has everything your inner adolescent boy is looking for: aliens, smutty one liners and even the occasional scantily clad female. In its greedy attempt to embrace each of these areas, along with a cast that is as dysfunctional and mismatched on screen as on paper, the result is a feature devoid of any real chemistry and an optimum audience of 14-16-year-old boys with pocket money to burn.
My advice is to see this film if you have access to an unashamedly immature friend and an Orange Wednesdays code, but don’t be surprised if you walk out with rampant acne and an insatiable craving for a Subway.