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The Watch

The Watch

Released 24 August 2012
Director Akiva Schaffer

Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, Jonah Hill, Richard Ayoade, Rosemarie DeWitt

Jared Stern, Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg, Justin Theroux
Producer(s) Shawn Levy, Michael Ewing
Origin United States
Running Time 102 minutes
Genre Comedy, sci-fi
Rating 15A

Who you gonna call?

Comedies that involve aliens are so hit and miss. On the one hand you've got Men in Black, on the other you have Mars Attacks – enough said. The Watch falls in between the two, neither groundbreaking nor an embarrassment, relying largely on an in-form cast and a plot that is, for all intents and purposes, rather simple.

After Evan, played by Ben Stiller, returns to his Costco store one morning to learn that his security guard has been brutally murdered, he decides to set up a Neighbourhood Watch to protect the community in the face of a delinquent local police force. Despite only being able to recruit three other members, the foursome embark on a quest that uncovers the existence of aliens and, with an impending invasion looming large, they attempt to save their humble Ohio town from annihilation.

The script is crass-heavy, with many of the jokes depending on something of a crude nature. But to be honest, it's hardly the most vulgar form of slapstick you're going to watch and it benefits from the timing and deliverance of a trio of comic actors who are all able to shine together. Stiller and Vince Vaughn are two of the most inconsistent comedians around Hollywood but the latter, in particular, portrays his role as the overly-loving father and everyone's best buddy very efficiently while any film of late benefits from the inclusion of Jonah Hill.

In essence, this movie is similar to that of the buddy-cop genre and the inclusion of the personal story lines involving Evan and Vaughn's character Bob adds some depth to what is largely just a series of scenes with a group of idiots in unlikely situations and a cast whose primary concern is to try and make you laugh. There aren't really any belly laughs but it's amusing throughout and the story speeds along at a swift pace.

The Watch is what it is – a movie for either the cinema or at home but one that neither has any obvious benefits or distinctive drawbacks. In that sense, I guess it has succeeded.

- David Caulfield