Watching the Detectives (2007) Poster

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Cillian Murphy proves his versatility and Liu is cute as a button in this enjoyable but extremely lightweight comedy.
Panterken1 March 2008
The premise is not original, the acting is good but not exactly to write home about and technically it's not a great accomplishment. But is 'Watching The Detectives' entertaining? Definitely. Lucy Liu fits the role of the play-in-the-field perfectly (her role reminded me of her character in Lucky Number Slevin) and Cillian Murphy really proved to be a surprise in a comedy role. I've only seen his really intense, sometimes scary roles and couldn't believe he was going to be somewhat enjoyable as a light character but I was very wrong.

The antics they get in to are fairly original and there even were several laugh-out-loud moments, for instance when the waiter is just a little too comfortable with spraying a glass of water on a woman he doesn't know on the request of a guy he doesn't know. :-). And when Lucy starts talking about her weirdo ex-boyfriends me and my friends were in stitches. The following scenes are quite amusing too, as Cillian gets paranoid over every bald guy he sees.

I mentioned some of the more original stuff above but there's also formulaic stuff present. WTD is never intended to be a film we can take something away from, it's harmless escapism that ironically enough deals with escapism a lot of the time :-). The relatively negative connotations concerning movie freaks certainly left a bad taste in my mouth after viewing, after all isn't that the target audience of these small films? I somehow feel they didn't find the right balance between respecting film and commenting on over-obsessive film freaks. Also the fact that they can't differ people who watch sci-fi, anime and stuff from the people who enjoy quality movies (like the mentioned Seventh Seal or Casino). Seems a bit ignorant.

In the end, DTW is better than a lot of comedies but it never goes deep, we (us guys) just fall in love with Lucy Liu all over again and that's never a bad way to spend ninety minutes.

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Strange, quirky, cute fluff
mikes200129 January 2009
Like the summary says - Watching The Detectives is strange, quirky, cute fluff. Like all of us folks on IMDb (as well as the characters in this movie), we watch too many movies. Too many bad movies. Too many similar movies. Watching The Detectives knows that so it veers off in a different direction and has some fun with the Romantic Comedy formula. It's a cute little movie. Could it have been better? Yes. Could the characters have been developed more? Yes. Could Lucy Liu been any cuter? I think not!! And to think she was almost 40 when she made this movie. Think of Watching The Detectives as a well made Indie film and you'll be pleased. It's already dated as the idea of a small, local video store catering to folks who like all kinds of movies is an idea whose time has unfortunately passed, but that's also part of its charm.

Lucy Liu is great. Cillian Murphy is OK (his look is more suited to post apocalyptic movies!!). The supporting cast is good. The music is very good. In fact, the scenes where music is featured were my favorite parts of the movie.

Give it a shot if you're looking for something lite and different.
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dobbin-418 April 2008
I absolutely loved it!!! and that is said with all my confidence. This movie is the movie lovers movie and shows all it is worth with movie references, spoofs (The movie as a whole is not a spoof) and a few twists from movies previously made. The show is so mindbreakingly clever and witty that after wards the viewer is left with a very happy feeling that they viewed something worth seeing. The film is hilarious for 1 even 2 views and is SO much better then other crap coming out nowadays. I do not want to tell you the end but it is worth it as there is 2 or 3 twists you will NOT see.Overall a fan of movies will love this and even a person who ONCE a week sits down for a movie will enjoy this cinematic Masterpiece. I rate this film 82%.
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Very good little movie. Don't Know Why it didn't get a theatrical release.
joestank1517 December 2008
Watching the Detectives - Neil (the very talented Cillian Murphy) owns a rundown video store that specializes in obscure B movies and film noir. His life consists of watching movies and chatting while his life goes nowhere. One day he meets an intense free-spirit girl named Violet (Lucy Liu) who plays pranks on him compulsively. The film contains many delightful nods to gumshoe film noir.

The plot is simple, and it seems like the sort of film that was made for film buffs, with more references than you can shake a stick at. It even feels like the sort of film I would make, and doubtless director/writer Peter Soter speaks from experience. The premise is enjoyable, as is the chemistry between Cillian Murphy, who is the show, and Lucy Liu. She perfectly plays the "crazy" girlfriend. She's like fire. Violet burns brightly, but often burns the gullible Nick with her pranks. Nick reminds me of me. And I love myself, and love Cillian Murphy, so this film really spoke to me.

The films message, which is to get out and enjoy life, might rub some film aficionados the wrong way for criticizing the wholeness of their lives, so their umbrage is understood, though unfortunate. I know fully well that screens are no substitute for real life and take every opportunity to do something else. They are a nice distraction when things are stagnant though.

It's just all in good fun, often very good fun. The shenanigans that Nick and Violet get into are just too much. I wholeheartedly enjoyed this film. Watching the Detectives is cleverly written, often very funny and quirky and idiosyncratic as hell. As this is the case, it's not for everyone but eons better than most of what has come out this year. I'm dismayed Watching the Detectives didn't get a full release. I suppose there aren't enough ironic film buffs out there and fans of Cillian Murphy, whose performance makes the movie. This and Breakfast on Pluto are a great set of companion films. Watching the Detectives gets an A-
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Cute little caper, but very flawed
PeachHamBeach28 August 2010
Warning: Spoilers
I'm on a Cillian kick lately, so I tried this little number out. Though it's as cute as it can be for a romcom, it's got quite a few rough spots. I'd say editing, some of the writing, maybe, er, the direction now and then. The married couple got on my nerves sometimes, yet I really enjoyed the banter between Michael Panes and Jason Sudeikis.

Still, though I find it very surprising that Cillian Murphy would do a film of this sort (a chatty, slapsticky, quirky American comedy), given his resume, he brings something to it that would have been missing otherwise. Though his role of Neil is primarily reactionary (to Lucy Liu's nonstop pranks), there were some moments of his own that had me in stitches (pretending to be a rockstar smoking a joint, for instance!) Lucy Liu (am I spelling it right, I hope?) is riotous as Violet, the girl who immediately draws Neil, a film dork who owns a video store that specializes in rare, cult and classic movies that aren't avail on DVD, into her world of bor-ophobia and endless mischief. Almost every scene holds a surprise. If you don't laugh during the scene where the 2 noirish cops question Neil in his office, you may have the wrong sense of humour for the whole thing.

After a while, though, the pranks begin to feel a bit forced, and the "robbery" towards the ending left me confused as to what was fake and what wasn't. It's definitely not Cillian's best film, but that's not to say it isn't a cute role for him or that he didn't play it well. All in all, it's a rather adorable change for him after all the dark roles. There are some awesome songs in the film too. My favorite personally is the Band Of Horses song during Neil's meltdown while he's playing baseball.

Worth a look.
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Life getting in the way of watching movies is fun, funny and enjoyable
napierslogs9 April 2011
"Watching the Detectives" is a movie for movie watchers who like to sit around watching movies about people who sit around watching movies. Neil (Cillian Murphy) is such a person. He owns a small video store specializing in B-movies and other hard to find titles complete with a couch to just sit on and watch movies. But life gets in the way.

Intrigued by a cute girl who walks into his store and frustrated by the big video chain stores opening down the street, he follows her and ends up doing stuff. Unfortunately for Neil, things that Violet (Lucy Liu) usually gets into are illegal by nature. But fortunately for Neil, he's seen characters like Violet in his movies, and now he's given a chance to live them out.

I liked the character of Neil a lot. I liked the fact that he appreciated the comfort of his couch. He's cute and funny, and he would be smart if girls and life didn't get in the way. But I like Cillian Muprhy even more than I like Neil. He's got charisma and an unbelievably versatile talent that he can play just an ordinary guy. I didn't know that he could play ordinary with such a great comedic touch.

"Watching the Detectives" is a comedy for movie watchers - meaning you need to have seen classics like "Citizen Kane" and "Thelma & Louise" since this movie has a knack for giving away their endings. They probably also do it for a number of B-movies, but just ones that you likely haven't heard of. I would have appreciated a darker ending, but I still thoroughly enjoyed watching "Watching the Detectives".
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Watch it of your own choosing, its hard to recommend a film that has good ideas but poor execution
Amy Adler17 August 2010
Neil (Cillian Murphy) runs a vintage video store with a small group of friends. All of them adore movies and engage in arguments every day about which animation techniques are the best and so on. Although Neil has a girlfriend (Heather Burns), he decides he'd be better off without her and says sayonara over lunch. Good thing, too, for into his store walks a darling lass, Violet (Lucy Liu), who wants Neil to recommend a movie for a sick friend. The video man does so, hoping he will see Violet again. As it happens, Vi is one unusual lady and she arranges some further meetings with Neil with the utmost flair. Knowing he likes mysteries, Violet makes herself into a femme fatale and scares the willies out of Neil, by faking kidnappings, hiring thugs, and more. Somewhere along the line, the two fall in love but Neil never knows what Vi will do next to rattle his bones. Is there a future in such a relationship? As a fan of Murphy's, it was a rush to find this film at the price of one dollar. However, the good feeling soon evaporated, no fault of this fine and handsome Irish actor. He is good and Liu is downright adorable. But, although there are some memorable scenes and interesting premises, the flick still seems very disjointed and sloppily put-together. Too bad the screenwriter didn't ask for help, for a second writer might have found a way to increase its appeal. As it is, one scene follows another, without a focus. The scenery is pretty good, as are the costumes, and there is a few charming moments, such as the time Neil kisses Violet through a hole in the fence. Therefore, if you think Murphy is handsome or Liu is intriguing, you might want to give this film a whirl. Otherwise, even a dollar might seem too much to spend.
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Watching the Detectives: screwball comedy for the 21st century
red_hyro16 August 2008
Watching the Detectives is a loving homage to the screwball comedies of the 30s and 40s, adopting the basic formula of Bringing up Baby, i.e. daffy broad woos uptight dork. The dork is Cillian Murphy's Neil, an esoteric video store owner obsessed with being part of the movie reality he spends so much time the passive viewer of. Along comes Lucy Liu's Violet, a moderately insane woman who doesn't need to watch movies because she is always starring in her own, and is determined to have Neil as her costar. She involves him in a string of situations reminiscent of classic movies, noir and screwball alike, while attempting to help Neil realize she's the best thing that ever happened to him The movie is pleasant, though meandering at times, which is not necessarily a bad thing. The story could have used a little stronger of an underlying plot arc to tie together the comic episodes beyond the basic premise of Liu's pursuit of Neil. This plot arc component is what made Bringing up Baby, It Happened One Night, and other classic screwball comedies so good, the laughs occurring within a tight script. Watching the Detectives' script is funny if a bit flabby, but Lucy Liu and Cillian Murphy deliver inspired performances amidst a talented supporting cast, and are able to make you forget the film's flaws and enjoy yourself.

The central message of the film is good one for all of us who spend too much time watching and not enough time making our own movies.
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many great laughs in a shallow pond
steve148025 June 2008
This is an original movie with some amazingly funny and surprising moments, some preposterously bad acting and action, and a premise and resolution that really strains the imagination. Plus some very very good lines. It's a movie that plays, rather joyously, at 'being dumb' (Lucy Liu's nipple pops out of her dress and remains there for a whole scene) but creates hysterical situations and carries them off thru the sheer pleasure of Murphy's enthusiasm. Liu's athleticism is on subtle display and it is pretty amazing. It also has two of the best rock and roll moments I've ever seen in films; one, a great indie band in a club running thru the heart riff of a unique song and two, a highly produced backyard karaoke performance that perfectly resolves the needs of the film's moment. The ending is kind of forced but to come up with a real resolution of this story would take a writer of true genius. Summary: not so good, but you can't find this many laughs of this quality very easily. A must-see for a totally non-serious I-don't-know-what-to-do-today day.
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Charming, in a predictable but nicely done way.
sitenoise27 February 2008
Warning: Spoilers
The basic premise: Neil (Cillian Murphy) owns a small independent video store and lives passively in a world of make believe movies. Violet (Lucy Liu) lives a life of adventure. She would rather *do* than watch. She stages real life scenarios of situations Neil can hardly imagine. Most of her escapades are well thought out (My favorite being the picnic scene) and leave both the viewer and CM wondering just what's going on and how things will turn out.

I wish we'd gotten more background story on Violet, maybe a little input on why she puts the moves on this particular guy, but it's thoughts like that ... film criticism ... that will spoil the fun.

Don't go in expecting too much unless you are a Lucy Liu fan. It's not a mature or edgy film. There's not much to it except a delightful 90 minutes spent adoring Violet. Nothing wrong with that.

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Lucy Liu gets to wear all these cute outfits, many are low cut but not unduly provocative. The wardrobe department should get some props here. She looks great. She gets to act all femme fatale (though this film is inappropriately labeled 'noir') as she pulls prank after prank in an effort to deal with her "rare, exotic disease."

We get the quirky Liu here, not the tough one. She looks like a college student most of the time, except for the close-ups. Her body language and delivery are free spirited and charming in a predictable but nicely done way. From standing pigeon-toed to sniffing her armpit for odor, she's as cute as a button. I don't imagine the film makers were shooting for anything beyond that.

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