A comedy sci-fi movie, starring Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, Richard Ayoade and Jonah Hill, and directed by Akiva Schaffer, The Watch just falls short in the comedy department. Of course, there will be many people reading this review who immediately switch off once they find out that Stiller and Vaughn are involved, but I'm a fan of those guys and they have some good moments in this movie. Just not enough of them.
The plot is simple enough. There's an alien invasion happening, but nobody is aware of it. The only people who stumble on to the horrible truth are four men (those actors named above) who have recently come together in a newly-formed neighbourhood watch group. Unfortunately, they may not be the best people to deal with the situation, even if they're more up to the task than the main local law enforcement (headed up by Will Forte).
The Watch should have been a lot better than it is. I know that there are people who dislike most of the main stars, but I'm a fan of their work and looked forward to seeing them all having fun together onscreen. Unfortunately, the mix of alien invasion and comedy just doesn't work here. I laughed at a number of scenes, and I enjoyed the last few scenes, but the two main elements of the movie never feel as if they belong beside one another.
Everyone gets to have at least one chance to steal a scene, with Ayoade getting more chances than anyone else, because he's Ayoade (I'm a big fan of his work, in case you couldn't tell). Forte is very funny in his supporting role, Rosemarie DeWitt, Erin Moriarty, Billy Crudup and Jared Stern all cause some stress, in very different ways, for a few of the main characters, and R. Lee Ermey stretches his acting ability by portraying a foul-mouthed old man quick to grab his gun.
The whole movie gets by more on goodwill than anything else, but the script by Jared Stern, Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg manages to set up a solid enough foundation for the main performers to have fun on, which allows for the film to be liked or loathed in equal measure, depending on your taste.
Many will view the fact that I liked it as just another example of how bad my taste can be.