At first glance, The Watch doesn’t offer much new: Vince Vaughan plays his usual loud mouth, arrogant jerk, Jonah Hill plays his standard creepy, deranged fool and Ben Stiller plays his less likable stick-in-the-mud role, that makes us wish he’d stick to films such as Tropic Thunder & Zoolander. To some extent, these roles work, (at least the Box Office takings prove) which is why the actors play their respective parts so often. However, repetition in roles can became tiresome, a risk The Watch comes dangerously close to at times. I mean, why exactly does Vince Vaughan have to shout so much, is it to keep himself awake? It certainly seems that way.
Surprisingly, a lot of the success of the movie rests on the well-dressed shoulders of Richard Ayoade, a relative unknown to most. Ayoade succeeds in bringing a different brand of comedy to the leading men, and is given a lot of screen time for a newcomer. It would seem there are plans for Ayoade in the film industry, as seems that he is given the best lines, allowing him to effortlessly steal most of the scenes. In fact, towards the film’s climax, director and Lonely Island alum Akiva Schaffer seems to make Ayoade the focus of most the shots; even indulging Ayoade in the time honoured tradition of withdrawing guns in slow motion.
Schaffer’s Lonely Island humour is present, with most of the humour taking the shape of dick jokes, ball sucking, pissing, and semen. Basically, the whole male crotch region. The Lonely Island themselves enjoy a small, yet funny cameo that centres on – yeup, you guessed it – another dick joke. Like fart jokes, dick jokes are funny, but it’s lazy humour; and as the film becomes more sci-fi orientated; the comedy begins to feel cheap.
The Watch made no secret regarding its sci-fi roots during advertising; even so, the sci-fi element becomes the weakest part of the film. Most of the laughs naturally come from the dialogue between the four male leads, while the shenanigans of the aliens become tedious, and eventually just get in the way of the jokes. Soon the whole thing uncomfortably resembles Attack The Block, another mediocre alien-comedy movie. Scenes involving a “local orgy” provided the most fun, and more importantly, felt more natural for the leads. It may seem surprising that The Watch was co-written by no less than three writers, as the plot becomes quite rushed toward the end and becomes a little messy. A sub-plot exploring Stiller’s threatened masculinity feels oddly out of place, seemingly letting on that the film was written a little too seriously in places.
A little more time between the male leads, without aliens, would have improved things greatly. Aside from that fault, some pretty well written dialogue, likeable leads and snappy editing makes The Watch an enjoyable, if not silly movie. Provided you don’t get tired of phallic orientated humour easily, you won’t be worse of for having seen this, but neither will you be pre-ordering the DVD in a hurry.