Jews on neighborhood ‘Watch’
If you need a break from the Olympics, you can go out and see “The Watch,” which opens Friday, July 27. The premise: A group of suburban guys forms a neighborhood watch group that mostly exists to provide the guys an excuse to get away from their often boring home lives. The twist: They discover the existence of a space alien invasion and have to fend it off.
“Watch” is directed by former Berkeleyite Akiva Schaffer, 34, a former “Saturday Night Live” writer and BFF of Andy Samberg. The script is by Seth Rogen, 30, and his fellow Canadian and childhood friend Evan Goldberg, 30. The “Watch” group is made up of four guys: Evan (Ben Stiller, 46), Franklin (Jonah Hill, 28), Bob (Vince Vaughn) and Jamarcus (Afro-Brit actor Richard Ayovade). Evan is the leader of the group — but he’s led several other watch groups that fell apart because nobody likes him. Franklin is a “cop wanabee” whose emotional problems lead the real police to reject him; Bob mostly joins the group so he can easily spy on his teenage daughter’s dating life.
Opening Aug. 3 is “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days,” the third movie in the “Wimpy Kid” series. The series’ star character, Greg Heffley, is ready for a relaxing summer now that school is over. But his vacation plans go awry. Heffley is played by Zachary Gordon, 14, a Southern California native who told an interviewer last year that he planned to become a bar mitzvah in late 2011. His family keeps kosher and they are regular synagogue-goers.
Jewish dog days
During the summer, newspapers are looking for some light news. What better time to break the Guinness World Record for the most expensive animal wedding? Well, that record was broken July 12 at a swank Manhattan hotel. It isn’t quite as appalling as it sounds. The wedding was a benefit for the Humane Society of New York. The whole shindig cost $250,000 and included mostly donated items, like a $6,000 wedding dress for the “bride,” a little dog called Baby Hope. Highlights (or lowlights?) included a $5,000 sushi spread.
The simcha was thrown by Baby’s “human companion,” animal expert Wendy Diamond, 38, who has appeared on a ton of TV shows. Some celebs turned out for the wedding, including Dylan Lauren, 38, fancy candy maker and daughter of Ralph Lauren. Perhaps the topper was a $5,300 floral chuppah for the wedding crafted by the Waldorf-Astoria’s florist. Diamond told the New York Daily News that “Baby Hope is a Jewish dog.” While the article said the wedding was interfaith, I am not sure. The “groom,” a standard poodle named Chilly, was selected via an online contest. His owner’s name is Jake Pasternak, which sounds pretty Jewish to me.
A very real rite-of-passage, a young man’s bar mitzvah, had a bit of show-biz glamour in the Bay Area. On June 30, Adam Barr-Neuwirth, the son of Berkeleyites Peter Neuwirth and Tali Barr, had his bar mitzvah at the Jewish Community Center of the East Bay (the family are members of Berkeley’s Chochmat HaLev Renewal synagogue, which is holding its services at the JCC while the sanctuary’s ceiling is repaired). Attending the bar mitzvah was Adam’s aunt, actress , 53. She is the younger sister of Peter.
Bebe Neuwirth is best known for an 18-year run playing a Jewish character, Dr. Lilith Sternin-Crane, on “Cheers” and “Frasier.” She is also a talented Broadway musical actress, winning two Tony Awards. Jeanette Ferber, a cantorial soloist who sang during the services that included the bar mitzvah, told me she is a big fan of Neuwirth and, understandably, was a bit flustered about singing in front of such an accomplished professional.
Columnist Nate Bloom, an Oaklander, can be reached at email@example.com.