No matter how ridiculous the premise, likeable, vulnerable, oblivious characters in any context can usually coax out a few yucks. In response to a mysterious murder in a quiet Ohio community a group of misfits band together to form a Neighbourhood Watch (Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, Jonah Hill and Richard Ayode), only to stumble on the threat of an alien invasion.
Director Avika Schaffer shines the most in the moments where he’s out to scare. Writers (and Superbad scribes) Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg (and their third wheel Jared Stern) are film geek voices influenced by the Amblin (Spielberg) everyman characters thrown into those extraordinary situations. The main quartet is the least qualified group for something of that magnitude, but their ineptitude is fun and quite endearing.
Ben Stiller is his bland characteristic neurotic everyman that’s becoming an ‘auto-pilot’ of sorts. The rest of the core group provide the main laughs. Vince Vaughn is a more tolerable prospect when he’s infectiously supportive and positive, while stalking his daughter’s Facebook and encouraging drinking and partying every five minutes. Jonah Hill guises himself as the ominous weirdo tough guy and brings a majority of the unexpected filthy humour. And the sweet and demure Richard Ayode is used to great affect with some surprising sexual deviancy. The eccentrics in the town were highlights especially Billy Crudup’s sleazy perverse neighbour and Lee Emery’s shotgun toting crazy.
The Watch doesn’t totally know what it is – but that doesn’t matter. It’s entertaining, silly fun, if you like gaggles of fools stumbling upon alien invasions and dick jokes.
and a half
Director: Avika Schaffer
Written by: Jared Stern, Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg
Starring: Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, Jonah Hill, Richard Ayode
The Watch is released on the 13th of September 2012 in Australia and as already been released in the U.K and U.SA.