The Watch, to sum up: aliens, banter and exploding cows. One of the big releases this summer, this comedy sci-fi tries to follow in the wake of films like ‘Shaun of the Dead’ and ‘Scary Movie’ but felt to me more like a ‘Superbad’; it’s a lads comedy at heart.
When I first saw the poster I couldn’t imagine the cast working together at all; there’s a bit of a mash of generations. Having said that each of ‘The Watch’ comes from a unique comedy background and brings something different to the film to stop it being too samey. For those of you who don’t recognise the names (or haven’t seen the cast list), it stars: Ben Stiller (Greg Focker from Meet the Fockers), Vince Vaugh (Peter La Fleur from Dodgeball), Jonah Hill (Seth from Superbad) and Richard Ayoade (Maurice Moss from The IT Crowd). I’m not a big fan of Ben Stiller, I find his ego blocks out most of the screen usually, but he managed to reign it in for The Watch and it was great to see him step back and interact with other comedians.
The film started out a bit like Hot Fuzz, a group of people get together to form ‘The Watch’ in order to investigate a murder in a town where not much happens. The more they snoop about, the more they find until they uncover a secret alien plot (E.T is forever alone in NOT wanting to invade earth).
As a sci-fi film the whole thing works pretty well: the aliens are scary, the exploding cow from the advert is just the beginning of the fun with the death-ball-thing and there is no shortage of explosions. The biggest flaw for me was the predictability of the plot. It seemed to chug away and was a bit contrived, although the twist certainly caught me by surprise.
The core of the film isn’t the aliens or even the action, it’s the banter between the four stars. It doesn’t matter whether they’re sitting quietly in a car or battling a big bunch of aliens, when the four are together the comedy is fast paced and very quotable.
If you’re stuck for a feel good film with some witty one-liners from an all star cast, then this is for you. But if you want a meaty story with some real action, you’d be better off seeing The Bourne Legacy.