MFR Rating: ★ ★ ★
Evan (Ben Stiller) is a really nice guy who loves his hometown of Glenview, Ohio and the people who live in it. He’s the boss at his local Costco so when one of his security guards is mysteriously killed in the middle of the night, Evan takes it upon himself to create a Neighbourhood Watch to try and harness the power of the community in order to stop anymore bad things happening to good people. It’s intentionally cheesy and clearly a safe role acquired by Stiller’s agent. Evan recruits three volunteers: Bob (Vince Vaughn), an over protective father who just wants to kick back with some friends and have a beer, Franklin (Jonah Hill), a young, unstable man still bitter about not being accepted into the police force and Jamarcus (Richard Ayoade), a gentle Brit. What starts out as a battle to save their own town becomes a battle to save the whole world from an alien attack as ordinary guys become heroes.
Richard Ayoade does a good job providing the film’s only curve ball of a casting choice which otherwise includes the unremitting box office gold of Stiller and Vaughn (although figures for this film conversely prove otherwise), accompanied by Jonah Hill. Having found fame in Channel 4’s The IT Crowd, Ayoade is clearly quite a talent having written and directed the impressive indie hit, Submarine and providing a neat comic performance here in an otherwise by-the-numbers gross out comedy. The film has a fair few laughs, particularly those involving the town’s inept, disregarding police force. Despite the fact that the alien invasion comedy genre is starting to wear a little thin (see Men In Black, Attack the Block), the first half of the film is quite strong as Stiller assembles his odd taskforce prior to the monster mayhem. Although I thought they could have done more with the ‘aliens invade Wal-mart’ gag, a film starring the two increasingly hackneyed leads of Stiller and Vaughn could easily have been an utter disaster but ended up being perfectly watchable and satisfying.
Review by David Rank
The Watch is out on 24th August in the UK. Certificate 15 (UK). Running time 102 mins.
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