The Watch

You are hereby officially notified: This is a bad movie.

The setup: Ben Stiller is manager of a Costco store in a small town in Ohio. When his night watchman is brutally killed. Stiller sets up a community watch team.

Stiller is joined on the team by Vince Vaughn, Jonah Hill and an unfamiliar actor, Richard Ayoade. Ayoade is interesting because of his mixed ethnicity, British accent and vaguely intellectual look. He’s a decent enough actor who may have a future in film comedy.

The watch team eventually discovers that what they are up against is… aliens! But their battle with aliens isn’t enough to fuel a whole movie, so we get somewhat lame subplots about infertility, wild teenagers and arrogant small-town cops.

In comparison to other R-rated movies with dirty language (such as “Ted”), this movie seems to bring the raunchiness just for the sake of raunchiness. Yes, there are some laughs along the way, but much of the script languishes in that zone between “almost funny” and “ecccch.”

SNL vet Will Forte’s roles this summer in “That’s My Boy,” “Rock of Ages” and now as the smart-ass cop in “The Watch” (along with his bizarre role on “30 Rock”) appear to have positioned him as a go-to guy for comedy character roles. Rosemarie DeWitt appears as Stiller’s wife.

Unless you feel obliged to see every single movie that Stiller, Vaughn or Hill make, watch this one in a year or two on cable or Nexflix. Believe me, you can wait.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ted

Will you like “Ted?” Well, do you like “Family Guy?”

“Ted” is a rude, crude and hilarious movie with a heart. Mark Wahlberg is John, a 35-year-old underachiever who has a real, live teddy bear for a best friend. He also has a girlfriend, Lori, played by Mila Kunis, who wants him to ditch the bear and get on with his life.

When he was an 8-year-old, John got a teddy bear for Christmas. He made a wish that the bear could be real and…it happened! The bear became famous. Appeared on the Carson show! Now Ted has grown up with Wahlberg and is a sarcastic, pot-smoking has-been.

Kudos to all involved for making Ted appear so real. A combination of motion-capture and animation has rendered an on-screen Ted that is nearly flawless.

Ted is voiced by Seth MacFarlane, who also directed and co-wrote the movie. MacFarlane is the brains behind “Family Guy”—he’s the voice of Peter and Stewie Griffin and Brian the dog—and two other animated TV shows.

“Family Guy” fans will enjoy cast members Alex Borstein, the voice of Lois Griffin, and Patrick Warburton, who voices Joe Swanson, in their minor roles in “Ted.” (I wonder why Seth Green, who voices Chris Griffin, was not included.)

“Ted” has many cool cameos and a quick tribute to an early 80’s film comedy classic. Speaking of voices, Patrick Stewart provides the film’s opening and closing narration.

Trimming away some excess would’ve resulted in a tighter, better movie. Getting us to a happy ending made the film too long. But the funny lines and scenes are abundant, good taste is lacking and audiences will be howling at “Ted.”