Release: Friday, July 27, 2012
I’ve always been curious about how it would go — putting men of the Stiller/Vaughn/Hill variety into situations that become larger than life, as opposed to the white suburban hills garden variety stories these actors have been pampered by. A Hollywood director thought it could work. Umm…..big mistake.
Originally titled ‘Neighborhood Watch,’ Akiva Shaffer’s newest attempt at filmmaking (okay, I’ll concede 2007’s Hot Rod) has been plagued from the beginning with issues. Following the tragic shooting in Sanford, Florida, the film had to undergo a title change to avoid controversy. The resultant film stirs an equal dose of controversy as it shoots for the stars, while missing horribly.
I consider myself not among the populace’s more mature individuals, and even I thought there were one too many penis references for an alien movie. Hell, it was the most inspired moment of all when, towards the end, it was revealed that these alien invaders have a weakness in their crotch department. That the aliens could be taken down with a simple shot to the cock was hilarious. A dangling, awkward and downright immature script otherwise fell all over itself throughout the majority of this piece.
And that’s a real shame, too. If given a cast with professional penis-joke-tellers and facial-expression masters, one should be able to achieve great things. Shoot for the moon, and beyond, even. Instead, Shaffer’s idea was to bring the stars to them, to a little innocent neighborhood in Ohio, to be exact. Although not entirely original, it’s an interesting enough premise that invites all the potential for some ridiculous anti-alien invasion jokes. I don’t think there was one insult made on an alien; instead, we get caught up in our own domestic lives, bitching about stuff that doesn’t truly matter when compared to……yes, an alien invasion.
An extremely irritating, borderline brain-dead acting performance from Will Forte made me hope I will never cross paths with him in a movie setting ever again. I almost felt the same with Stiller. Since the man went over the hill in age, so did his acting skills. Or perhaps he hired the worst agent ever. Can we please have a fourth installment of Meet The Parents?
To give some credit, the cast do what they can with a script from co-writers Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg that gives them an anorexic joke reel (oddly enough they were the parents of Superbad, relatively a successful comedy when compared). The chopping block must have become so crap they ended up ad-libbing many lines. Vaughn yells most of his. And some guy named Richard Ayoade predictably reveals himself to be not of the terrestrial sort.
I can handle all the silly cliches and recycled penis jokes — 60% of the time, they work every time. But come on, Rogen. You’ve been in the business, how long? — and I can completely understand if it was co-written with your five-year-old niece. I wouldn’t put this film down on your resume, pal; there’s no telling how many residents you just pissed off with this bit of film.
Recommendation: I would recommend, just on the basis that it will not be the worst film you’ll see this year. But I also recommend taking the trailer below with a large grain of salt. It’s rather misleading. I was equal doses disappointed and not overly surprised by the cheese factor that resonated after The Watch.
Running Time: 100 mins.
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