The Watch (15) Director: Akiva Schaffer Staring: Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, Johan Hill Rating: ★★★

Watch out for aliens

By Gerald McCusker

What’s the story?

The leafy, peaceful suburb of Glenview, Ohio is an oasis of calm and order and Evan (Ben Stiller) is an active member of this tranquil community, establishing everything from running clubs to teaching the elderly Spanish in his spare time.

Manager of the town’s largest wholesale retailer, Evan is a pillar of the community and life, like his supermarket, is managed to perfection.

But order is broken in this pristine little town when one of Evan’s security guards is brutally murdered on the job and, vowing to catch those responsible, Evan establishes a Neighbourhood Watch.

Recruiting borderline alcoholic Bob (Vince Vaughn), wannabe cop Franklin (Jonah Hill) and socially inept Jamarcus (Richard Ayoade), the gang become Glenview’s first Neighbourhood Watch.

However, the guys get more than they bargained for when their investigations inadvertently stumble upon an alien invasion and it appears that Glenview is the epicentre of the the hostile ETs’ takeover of the human race.

 

Any good?

Splicing science-fiction with comedy is nothing new. Ivan Reitman did a splendid job when he gave us spooked-out comedy classic Ghostbusters and even Barry Sonnenfeld’s Men In Black trilogy can be viewed as favourites of the sci-fi-comedy genre.

The Watch follows in the same footsteps as Reitman and Sonnenfeld’s classic creations, attempting to marry ballsy, brash, laddish humour with an out of this world spectacle and snazzy special effects.

Whether or not you find it a success, however, really does depend on how much you adore the comedic talents of leading men Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn and Jonah Hill and, with extremely rude and crude dialogue from writer Seth Rogen, The Watch really is an acquired taste.

Stiller clearly enjoys playing the goofy do-gooder, we’re well used to seeing Vaughn playing the same loudmouth, wise-cracking everyman he’s been perfecting for the past decade. And Hill? Well, Hill can’t help being cast as a roly-poly outsider who can’t seem to make the grade.

Therein we have the dilemma with The Watch. Whilst the premise of having top comedy stars facing off against violent alien beings seems promising, the result is more an unbalanced stage for the likes of Stiller, Vaughn and Hill to ad-lib their way through the entire movie and squeeze as many crude sexual references and oddities into as many lines of dialogue as possible, whilst the plot is cast to the sidelines.

Okay, the action scenes are enjoyably goofy with enough green gore, blood and guts to keep all the horror fans out there satisfied, but you get the feeling that director Akiva Schaffer has left the details of the alien invasion by the wayside in favour of capturing the cast deliver very crude and repetitive one-liners.

 

 

Final word

Though not as funny or as rampant as I was hoping with such a promising cast, The Watch will still manage to kill a few feckless hours at the flicks on a Saturday night.

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