How do you make a quality sci-fi alien film funny? ‘The Watch’ doesn’t offer a satisfying answer to that question. Akiva Shaffer’s movie is a patchwork of funny scenes and several well done comedy sketches, which is ok if you’re not looking for a comedy that is surprising and amusing from the first till the last minute.
Evan Trautwig (Ben Stiller) is the incarnation of civic pride and responsibility. He lives in the small American town of Glenview, Ohio, where ‘nothing ever happens’. He is also a proud senior manager of the local ‘everything under one roof’ Cosco store, where one day something actually does happen: a ghastly murder. Evan, as a concerned citizen, decides to form a neighborhood watch in order to catch a killer and protect his town. However he manages to recruit only three beer lovers: Bob (Vince Vaughn), an overprotective father, Franklin (Jonah Hill), a high school dropout and a police office reject, and Jamarcus (Richard Ayoade), the British-accented new guy in town.
The real fun in the plot begins when four new friends discover that the murderer(s) come from outer space. That is also the moment where the jokes on body fluids, or one particular body fluid start because ‘The Watch’ abounds with ‘adult’ humour (actually more like an immature teenage humor with jokes on sperm, sex and male or alien ‘packages’). Apart from that, (*spoiler) Ben Stiller saves the world, everyone is happy and they remain friends. Moviegoers not concerned about the depths of characters or plot innovations, looking only for two hours of relaxing in cinema, will have fun. More demanding audiences, on the other hand, will leave the theater disappointed. Vince Vaughn’s acting is great but several well done jokes are not enough to save the film from deplorable lack-of-creativity.