For a comedy written by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg and directed by The Lonely Island’s Akiva Schaffer, you probably wouldn’t expect sci-fi action to feature quite so heavily – but in The Watch‘s case, you’d be very wrong.
Primarily a buddy comedy starring Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, Jonah Hill and Richard Ayoade, The Watch tells the story of four strangers coming together to form a neighbourhood watch with the specific intention of solving the murder of a local security guard.
It’s a film that wasn’t overly popular with critics, with many citing lowbrow humour and a derivative plot as the reason behind their bad reviews, and while The Watch is certainly guilty of both, it actually offers much more.
One of the movie’s main draws is the bro-mantic chemistry between its four stars. The combination of four equally funny comic actors of varying styles makes for something special, and the use of a sci-fi mystery story sets an appropriately interesting backdrop for their childish shenanigans.
While the movie’s use of gross-out humour caused many critics to dismiss it entirely, it’s actually fairly representative of male friendships, and as a result, The Watch is able to lend a little authenticity to its outlandish premise.
One of the film’s stranger qualities is the way in which it sets its own bar low. There’s no expectation that it’s going to be narratively sound or ask any large-scale questions, and therefore it’s simply a fun, easy watch that will likely elicit a few laughs from its audience.
Watching it back, The Watch bears striking similarities to Edgar Wright’s The World’s End, the final movie of the director’s ‘Cornetto Trilogy’ – consisting of Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz and The World’s End, all of which starred Simon Pegg and Nick Frost – and although The Watch actually came first by a full year, The World’s End actually expands on the sci-fi buddy comedy premise by considerable margin.
Overall, despite its similarities to other movies and its use of occasional vulgarity, The Watch is an enjoyable experience. If you’ve seen much of Stiller, Vaughn, Hill or Ayoade before, you’ll likely already know exactly what to expect from each of them, but there’s something to be said for the group chemistry on display throughout the film.
Summary: A no-brainer comedy with four consistently funny leads, The Watch might not offer any surprises, but it’ll offer a few good laughs.