On paper, The Watch looks terrific. It's got three decent Hollywood stars in Stiller, Vaughan and Hill, along with much-loved Brit Ayoeda (who is clearly destined for big things Stateside). It's got an interesting Neighbourhood Watch set-up. So why, then, is The Watch just so, so mediocre?
The problem seems to be that the makers are too scared to take a risk and do somethng interesting with the premise. It could have been a clever, slightly snarky on modern suburban life – much like The Burbs did back in the 80s, and what Suburgatory is currently doing on TV. But no, the filmmakers decided to go the easy route and make a very conventional, somwehat bland Hollywood comedy that appeals to the lowest common denominator (although it does have some funny moments). Oh, and did I mention the sci-fi subplot?
The blokes form a Neighbourhood Watch team, and find themselves suddenly having to deal with a sneaky alien invasion (they disguise themselves as humans). Stiller's character, Evan, works for a US retailer – which I won't name here, becuase the company gets namechecked about 1,378 times during the film – and is somewhat of a control fereak. He has to form this ragtag bunch – Bob (Vaughn), Franklin (Hill) and Jamarcus (Ayoade) – into a squad that can save the planet from a coming invasion. You'd think there was potential for major laughs there, but sadly they are few and far between, and most of them are of the grossout variety – apart from a very funny scene involving the shooting of an alien. A lot.
It's a terrific cast, but they're all pretty much wasted here. The characterts are all underwritten and nobody really shines, apart from Ayoade – he's easily the best thing in it. The Watch didn't really do that well in the US, and I can't see it succeeding in other territories either. A wasted opportunity.