The premise of The Watch doesn't sound like textbook science fiction, but intriguing nevertheless. A group of unsuspecting neighbours banding together to form a watch group in order to catch the killer of one of the town's residents, who then uncovers an insidious army of aliens planning to conquer the world? Then you look at the cast, and begin to smile - with the likes of Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn and Jonah Hill gracing the cast, the film would almost certainly be a surefire recipe for comedy, no? Nope.
Evan (Stiller) is an overeager community man who works as a senior manager in the local Costco store, whose perfectly ordinary life is ruffled suddenly with the not so ordinary death of the store's security guard. Gathering a trio of misfits in the form of Bob (Vaughn), Franklin (Hill) and Jarmarcus (Richard Ayoade), he then attempts to investigate and hunt down the killer, who he suspects belongs in the neighborhood.
Red herrings are plentiful in the film, with the usual plot twist at the end - except by the time it rolls around, you simply aren't that invested in what happens any more. The seasoned comedians are let down by a disappointing script, and when the most interesting thing about the characters is Franklin's dexterity with a switchblade (Hill spent two weeks' training to perfect it), it says plenty about the film. Having said so much, the film does have its redeeming moments, even though they come few and far between. A particularly hilarious montage involves the Watch posing with an alien they killed, who then suddenly wakes up in the midst of another pose.
To sum up the film in two words: wasted potential. It's almost as if you know the film is directed by a man - Akiva Schaffer - due to the never-ending stream of penis jokes. Schaffer doesn't translate his wildly hilarious success with The Lonely Island (he is one of three members in the group) onto the big screen, with many jokes falling into two categories: falling flat and trying too hard. Watch only if desperate.