A few months ago, when I saw this trailer in the theater, I laughed out loud. Not only at the idea of Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, Jonah Hill and some other guy (Richard Ayoade, it turns out) portraying a puffed-up neighborhood watch group, but also because every neighborhood has one or more of these characters, so the humor is pretty much universal.
Then, about a week after I saw the trailer, the Trayvon Martin-George Zimmerman story broke. All of a sudden, the “Neighborhood Watch” concept wasn’t as funny anymore.
Twentieth Century Fox almost immediately began pulling movie posters and trailers from theaters, and began releasing statements such as, “Our film is a broad alien-invasion comedy and bears absolutely no relation to the tragic events in Florida.” A few weeks ago, it changed the movie’s name to simply, “The Watch.” Nothing they can do about the stick-on minivan decal and motorcycle jackets, though. (Or perhaps film editing is that advanced?)
The Daily Beast included “Neighborhood Watch” in a story about the 11 worst-timed movies. The film’s release date has not changed; it’s still set for July 27.