In the wake of the brutal killing of one of his employees, Evan Trautwig (Ben Stiller) sets up a neighbourhood watch group to protect the area and find the killer. What they discover is something they never could have imagined. Check out my review of The Watch after the jump.
Evan Trautwig is an underachieving every-man – he has worked at the same Costco store for years (where he is now a senior manager), is an active member of the community and he loves his wife (although he is unable to get her pregnant). Late one night one of his employees is killed in a brutal attack. In response Evan sets up a neighbourhood watch group to patrol the area – which only 3 people volunteer to join. Bob Finnerty (Vince Vaughn) is having problems with his socially active teenage daughter and is looking for some beer buddies; Franklin (Jonah Hill) is an emotionally disturbed individual who failed every test required to train to be a police officer; and Jamarcus (Richard Ayoade) is a recently divorced resident.
The four begin their nightly patrols of the neighbourhood, with Evan taking things a lot more seriously than the others who prefer to drink beer and make dick jokes. That is until they discover something out-of-this-world; it wasn’t a person that killed the Costco employee…it was an alien! and to make matters worse, there is more than one and they aren’t here on a friendly mission. But never fear! The watch is here and they aren’t letting their community go down without a fight.
This film surprised me – I laughed a lot, far more than I have while watching many comedies this year. This film is not a comedic masterpiece by a long shot, but it is a quite amusing buddy-comedy with a science-fiction flavour. There were still far too many dick jokes, but there was also some snappy dialogue and a particularly good performance from Richard Ayoade, who seemed to be playing Moss from The IT Crowd (which for the record I was completely fine with, because Moss is hilarious). His awkward out-of-place humour was the perfect antidote to the more predictable lines often spouted by Hill and Vaughn.
I thought the science-fiction story was a good one, and although it started off seeming a little like the British film Attack the Block (which is a film I absolutely love), this film was more of a comedy and obviously had a much greater budget – it also lacked the grit and intensity of the British film. The CGI was impressive (particularly the aliens), and it was easy to see why the film cost US$68 million (ouch). Unfortunately despite the large budget and impressive CGI, the film was poorly directed and extremely uneven. For every good action scene, there was a scene in which absolutely nothing happened (apart from the addition of unnecessary running time); and for every laugh there was a joke that fell completely flat.
Overall, this film was a mixed bag. For the most part I was entertained, and I certainly laughed a lot. While this film isn’t going to feature on any ‘Best of’ lists come the end of the year, it is certainly nowhere near the worst comedy I have seen this year (I’m looking at you Project X and American Reunion).
Director: Akiva Schaffer
Writer(s): Jared Stern, Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg
Starring: Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, Jonah Hill, Richard Ayoade
Runtime: 102 minutes
Release date(s): Australia & New Zealand: September 13 2012