Whew ... 'Neighborhood Watch' is F**ked!
“Whew... Vaughn Meader is fucked.”
--Lenny Bruce, onstage, November 22, 1963
I thought of JFK impersonator Vaughn Meader tonight. I was waiting in line at the movie theater and saw a poster for the upcoming comedy “Neighborhood Watch.” It's about a bunch of suburban dads—Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, Jonah Hill (does that dude sleep?)—who band together and create a neighborhood watch group to get away from their families. Apparently, in the process, they uncover a plot to take over the Earth.
Here's the trailer:
In light of recent events in Florida, with the tragic death of Trayvon Martin at the hands of a neighborhood watch volunteer, at the least this trailer is gone. I'm shocked it's still on YouTube. It helps that they have a black guy in the car with them—or at least a Norwegian-Nigerian by way of Britain. But the whole vibe of the thing? And Jonah Hill making his finger like a gun? No go. It's Vaughn Meader all over again. It's Peter Bogdonavich's 1968 film “Targets,” about an assassin, slated for release just after the MLK and JFK assassinations. Neighborhood watches might've been funny last year. Not this year.
Although maybe it'll do well in the South.
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UPDATE: Nearly a week later and the Fox studios are finally waking up to the problem. Apparently they've removed the first teaser poster and trailer but only from Florida, where Trayvon Martin was killed, and which passed the “Stand Your Ground” law that allowed George Zimmerman to walk. A Fox spokesperson released the following, carefully worded statement to The Hollywood Reporter:
“We are very sensitive to the Trayvon Martin case, but our film is a broad alien-invasion comedy and bears absolutely no relation to the tragic events in Florida. The movie, which is not scheduled for release for several months, was made and these initial marketing materials were released before this incident ever came to light. The teaser materials were part of an early phase of our marketing and were never planned for long-term use. Above all else, our thoughts go out to the families touched by this terrible event.”
Above all else.