When you read the synopsis of an alien invasion threatening to wipe out planet earth, one may assume the next Will Smith film is being released in theaters. However, when it’s Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, and Jonah Hill teaming up against the aliens the film goes in a different direction.

Not only does the film take a comedic approach to fighting aliens, it also adds a bunch of reluctant heroes doing the fighting. Some may think that Stiller, Vaughn, and Hill aren’t all that reluctant since they proactively organized the neighborhood watch to protect their fellow suburbanites, but their motivation isn’t that heroic. Their motivation actually stems from a lack of motivation, and, sadly, it’s all too common among men these days.

Evan (Stiller), Bob (Vaughn), and Franklin (Hill) organize a neighborhood watch as a way to get out of their responsibilities at home. They are tired of the work that families require, so they decide to create some work to get them out of work. It isn’t until they create this neighborhood watch that they stumble upon an alien plan to destroy earth.

This film sounds like an R-rated Ghostbusters if you ask me. Both are stories of four guys fighting against supernatural forces, plus one of them (Richard Ayoade) has hair like Egon. I’ve seen the work of Stiller, Vaughn, and Hill and I have to say, those main characters are hilarious. I know they are talented, but I’m not so sure I’m going to watch The Watch. Stiller was quoted in the USA Today saying that the original script for this film wasn’t nasty enough. It was PG and he wanted an edgy R. With these three well-known actors you can rest assured there will be laughs, but the laughs-to-filth ratio will be something you need to wrestle with.

What I wanted to consider today is the premise of the film. As I said, we have the main characters shirking their responsibilities, which is all-too-common among men these days.

Even though some may disagree, if we say that these main characters take up a hobby that pulls them away from their family one may see this more easily. Instead of starting a neighborhood watch, some surf the Internet, play golf, watch football, go hunting, play video games, blog (ouch) or just sit and watch television, but we know men can often ‘check-out’ of their calling to their family.

Again, I have not seen the film, but the premise states that these men started ‘the watch’ to get out of responsibility. These characters are affirming what we know to be true – it is hard to be a family-man. Our work is not our profession. Our work begins when we pull back into the driveway sometime after 5 p.m. Our home is the place we want to let our guard down and just have some peace, but our home is the place where we must get our game-face on. Our calling is clearly laid out for us in Deuteronomy 6:5-9:

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

We could basically sum this up as Christ does by saying, “Love God and love others.” (Matt. 22:34-40) We are to be enamored with Jesus Christ, first, and then tell others about him. Applying this as the work for fathers, be in love with Jesus and tell your family about Him. Since we know this is our primary role, we can rest assured that the world, our flesh and the devil will be making war on this, therefore, we must live out the authority Christ places on us. That authority? Die to self and serve others. Wasn’t this what Christ did with the authority His Father gave Him? “nevertheless, not as I will, but as you (Father) will.” (Matt. 26:39b)

As Kevin DeYoung states in his book, Just Do Something (I don’t have the book in front of me so I don’t have the direct quote and page), Women don’t just want a man that’s willing to die for them, but one who is willing to live for them. DeYoung is not saying that we are to make our wives or families an idol, he is saying that we must put them before ourselves. The death we are called to die is a daily death to self-desire. That is, what I want comes after the needs of my wife and children. They come before me.

So maybe the foursome heroes of The Watch learn their primary responsibilities through self-preservation, we’ll have to see. Whether or not, it does illustrate the truth that men have a high calling and and we must be watchful that we don’t neglect it.

  1. DustyOldTrail says:

    Hey John and friends. I know its been a while but boredom and sports and sports induced boredom. What I’m trying to say is I’m back.

    John, sorry about your grandfather-in-law’s passing. Death in the family is always hard. Take as much time as you need.

    On to the review, I just came from watching The Watch (that means spoilers) and I can say with clarity that you are off base in your assessment. Way off base. Again I don’t want to kick you while you’re down or anything and I can’t imagine how exhaustive keeping a website updated is, especially with a family.

    First off there are plenty of reasons why a discerning Christian can avoid this movie. You mentioned it already. The Watch for all intents and purposes is a college comedy. There’s swearing throughout, a lot of the cheap laughter involves sex references, and an orgy is pictured graphically and in a positive light.

    That said this was not an attack on fatherhood or the man’s role in a family. Of the members of the watch only two have families (Stiller and Vaughn) and of those two only one has children (Vaughn).
    In fact I’d go so far as to say this is a good role model for father’s so far as Hollywood goes. Vaughn at one point leaves the watch in the middle of important watch business in order to save his daughter from date rape. He puts his family above an alien invasion. The watch is made not to give its members an escape from family life but rather to catch a killer. The watch itself is great at being a men fellowship. Vaughn texts Stiller out of the blue to arrange a meeting wherein they talk about topics such as Vaughn’s struggle to father his teenage daughter and Stiller’s qualms about telling his wife about his sterility. Even when the watch does keep Stiller away from his wife this is put in a negative light by the filmmakers and Vaughn holds him accountable.

    Now I’m not saying this is a movie everyone should see, there are plenty of better movies out there (moonrise kingdom, the dark knight rises) and there are plenty of moments in this movie that a Christian should think about before choosing to buy the ticket (the orgy scene, language, the orgy scene, violence, the orgy scene). What I am saying is that its encouraging to see a movie that uplifts fellowship and fatherly duties. Sorta I guess. In more or less words you’re misjudging this movie.

    Still a great site good luck or my bad good tulip. Thanks for everything

    • jperritt says:


      Thanks for the warning about the graphic content in the movie. Thanks also for your gracious disagreement. As I stated, I hadn’t seen the film I was merely playing off of the premise that was stated in IMDb.com, which said they used the watch to get out of fatherly responsibilities. That’s good to hear there were some positive elements to fatherhood, but poor that there’s so much filth in it.

      Thanks again for your words!

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