20th Century Fox’s upcoming sci-fi comedy Neighborhood Watch hit a huge marketing roadblock following the killing of Florida youth Trayvon Martin at the hands of George Zimmerman, a member of a neighborhood watch whose motives for shooting Martin remain under close scrutiny. The Martin killing took place not long after the first trailer for Neighborhood Watch had been released, depicting the movie’s heroes driving around cocking their fingers like guns at local kids wearing hooded sweatshirts.
Not wanting to have their harmless yet profane genre-bending summer offering associated with the Martin killing, the studio decided to change the name of the movie and this weekend has released the first full trailer for the newly-titled The Watch. You can watch it here below.
The plot of the movie focuses on a quartet of bored suburbanites (Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, Jonah Hill, and Richard Ayoade) who patrol their neighborhood for any signs of criminal activity but usually end up harassing people they just plain don’t like. Real trouble arises when our reluctant heroes must defend their neighborhood – and the planet – from an invasion of aliens who can resemble human beings. Comedic discourse on the textural resemblance of green alien goo to semen ensues.
Akiva Schaffer, one of the Lonely Island trio and the director of the 2007 goofy cult comedy Hot Rod, directs from a screenplay by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg (Superbad, Pineapple Express).
This looks like it could be a cool and offbeat summer comedy. I actually laughed a few times during this trailer. The best part was the out-of-nowhere appearance of R. Lee Ermey (Full Metal Jacket) as a cantankerous old timer with a shotgun and a nasty temperament (plus some hilarious dialogue).
My only real disappointment with this trailer is that Ayoade hardly gets any dialogue at all. Of all the actors involved in this movie he’s by far the funniest person. If you doubt me then go look up his credentials; Ayoade’s previous film and television credits include some underrated comedy gems as Garth Merenghi’s Darkplace, Man to Man with Dean Lerner, and The IT Crowd. Plus last year he directed the critically-acclaimed indie film Submarine and the brilliant “Critical Film Studies” episode of Community. He’s definitely the odd man out in The Watch‘s alien-fighting, minivan-driving suburb dwellers so I hope the filmmakers give him some screen time to show his stuff.
Neighborho — uh I mean The Watch opens on July 27, 2012.