On the surface, life for Evan (Ben Stiller), appears to be ideal. He has a very nice home, a loving wife, a solid job as in upper management for Costco, and is very active in his suburban Ohio community. But Evan’s life is about to take an unexpected change when the night watchman for the store is found brutally murdered, leaving Evan distraught. Unhappy with the efforts of the local police force, Evan decides to form a community watch to solve the crime and to protect his beloved community.
In the new comedy The Watch, Stiller teams with comedy veterans Vince Vaughn, Jonah Hill, and relative newcomer Richard Ayoade, who has had audience in stitches for the past three years on the phenomenally popular and funny British comedy The I.T. Crowd.
Vaughn plays Bob, a successful contractor who sees the neighborhood watch as an opportunity for some much needed guys’-nights-out. Bob’s wife travels often for work leaving him to watch over their teenage daughter who hs driven Bob to hysterical fits of extreme measures as he attempts to divert any unwanted male attention from her.
Hill plays Franklin, a unstable individual who still lives at home with his mother after flunking out of high school and failing every evaluation the police department entrance exam offered, especially the part concerning mental stability. Franklin views the watch as his opportunity to get back at the police force and to clean up the streets. Ayoade rounds out the group as Jamarcus who sees the group as his chance to get back into the social network and envisions calls from lonely women looking for protection as his golden opportunity.
As the group begins to bond, Evan becomes agitated as he is, by nature, an insecure individual who finds Bob’s growing popularity within the group to be a threat to him and his plan to solve the murder. Despite their initial awkwardness the team begins to make progress and discovers a much larger threat to the community in the form of a hostile alien force which is capable of assuming human identity. In a desperate race against time the watch must not only battle the alien threat but each other and their own insecurities and issues to come together and save the day.
The film was directed by Akiva Schaffer who made a name for himself as part of the Lonely Island Boys who’ve done some outrageously funny song parodies on Saturday Night Live as well as the film Superbad.
While there are some very funny moments in the film as well as some fun sci-fi action sequences, the talented cast appears to be playing it safe rather than going all out. Time and time again the cast appears to be holding back. This is not to say that they don’t have great moments. Unfortunately, the best parts of the film were ruined by the trailers. I spent the whole time waiting for things to be kicked to the next level which sadly never arrived.
There were some pacing issues with film as it dragged at times. There were also some plot holes but naturally with films of this type, a deep and complicated plot is not to be expected. In the end, while entertaining, the film was disappointing. It could’ve been so much more, especially with so much talent attached to it. Sadly pacing issues and a fairly generic plot lacking any real surprises keeps the film from reaching its potential.
3 stars out of 5.