Ben Stiller and Vince Vaughn reunite in The Watch, a comedy that is kind of an attempt at Attack the Block meets The Burbs. A promising premise and with the success of Anchorman, Starsky and Hutch and Dodgeball now a bit of a distant memory, fans of the Frat Pack are no doubt hoping that this alien-infused adventure will be a return to the gang’s classic comedy form.
Directed by one third of the Lonely Island, Akiva Schaffer, The Watch follows small town man, Evan (Ben Stiller) who loves his community dearly. When a local employee at his Costco store is murdered under strange circumstances, he decides to start a neighbourhood watch committee to keep things under control. Stiller and Vaughn are joined by Jonah Hill who recently put in an admirable turn in 21 Jump Street and Brit, IT Crowd favourite, Richard Ayoade, both of whom complete the vigilante squad.
The start of the film is very encouraging, Stiller is on form as the uptight yet perky resident of his small town, Vaughn is as brash as he ever was, Hill is hilarious as an oddball disgruntled teen and Ayoade does nerdy, awkwardness perfectly. As great as the set up is, unfortunately something is missing. Originality? A well-developed script? Consistent jokes? All of the above. The film is pretty funny in places, but not all the way through and when things take a turn for the bizarre, the guys carry the weight of a script that just isn’t funny enough. Hill and Ayoade add something new and deliver some genuinely lines but when things get weirder as the story progresses (there is a random attempt to throw in a semi-serious sub-plot about Stiller’s character being impotent), the film becomes something quite different to the comedy it wanted to be.
Overall The Watch is an odd film. It undoubtedly has its moments; you’ll find yourself giggling at times but it’s one of those, better off waiting for the small screen deals really.
Charlotte has awarded The Watch 3 Torches of Truth.