Saturday, June 09, 2012

Fiction Imitates Life, Dept.

Right, so I'm at the local multiplex about to watch Prometheus (short review: gorgeous visuals in parts; worth the 3D; what does it say when the most compelling character is an android?; unsatisfactory ending), and the previews are unspooling.  One is for a comedy starring Ben Stiller and Vince Vaughn as local doofuses who form a neighborhood watch group and end up encountering aliens.  No, not Manuel and Rosita, but, you know, aliens.  Foreign entities who do not share our way of life or thinking and most likely are hostile.  So, at one point in the trailer, the four doofuses and chick (including the always-watchable Rosemarie DeWitt from United States of Tara and Richard Ayoade from The IT Crowd ) come upon an alien.  They're somehow armed--shades of George Zimmerman--and kill the alien.  After the alien is down and for bonus comedic effect, Stiller and Vaughn keep shooting it as it lies on the floor.  One takes a few shots.  The other a shot.  Two beats.  Another few shots.  Repeat until hilarity ensues.  Don't hold your breath, though.  Then--shades of U.S. troops in Afghanistan--they pose for pictures with the dead alien.  Making the corpse do "funny" things, possibly because the film isn't having much success on that front.  I was confused: Was this (a) another yukless crapfest from Stiller or (b) some deep critique of American interventionism in global affairs or of the nation's love affair with handguns or of our national tendency to create and demonize an Other? 

20th Century Fox pulled the trailer temporarily in late March after noticing that maybe possibly its resonance with a story that was all over the media might hurt box office.  They needn't have.  The answer to my question is, of course, (a).  A quick two and out.  And retroactive irony quotes to "comedy."

They changed the title to The Watch, btw.  Because Neighborhood Watch wasn't testing well with young black males in Florida.


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