From left, Richard Ayoade, Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn and Jonah Hill in a scene from the movie The Watch.
From left, Richard Ayoade, Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn and Jonah Hill in a scene from the movie The Watch. Melinda Sue Gordon

Movie review: The Watch

THERE have been plenty of great sci-fi comedy mash-ups, Men In Black, Ghostbusters to name a couple. The

Watch is not one of them.

Like an insecure teenage boy unsure of where he fits in the world, The Watch restlessly flips between gross-out comedy, bromance and alien invasion but never really hits its stride.

It all starts out promising enough, uptight suburbanite Evan (Ben Stiller) forms a neighborhood watch when one his Costco employees is murdered.

Along stumble the rag tag crew of Bob (Vaughn), Franklin (Hill) and Jamarcus (Richard Ayoade - who brings a fun take on his IT Crowd persona).

Stiller, Vaughn, Ayoade and Hill are all very much playing to type.

Stiller is the nervy one, Vaughn the slop with a heart, Ayoade the nerdy one and Hill the slightly odd one with anger issues.

It's nothing we haven't seen before and essentially they are a group of overgrown boys the four work well together excluding a strong comedic chemistry and great timing that works well with the crass yet heartfelt material.

While Vaughn sprouts gags like a haphazard automatic rifle with a strong miss rate, Ayoade scores the biggest laughs with his prim diction and geeky innocence.

There are some great wacky visuals, offbeat gags and clever pot shots at the cop action genre.

The Costco product placement is a little questionable but forgivable.

But when the aliens get involved that's when things go awry.

Visually they are well done, suitably threatening but not overpowering but it is the script that lets everything down.

It's like the writers had enough in the final act and just slapped together a few ideas and buggered off to the pub.

It's a new low in lazy screenwriting.

With a climax that rivals lamest ending of the year, The Watch fails to adequately pull of neither comedy nor sci-fi.


The Watch

  • Stars: Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, Jonah Hill, Richard Ayoade
  • Director: Akiva Schaffer
  • Rated: MA15+
  • Verdict: Two stars