Start with the basic premise of Ghostbusters. Replace “ghosts” with “aliens”. Add in about two dozen F-bombs, one orgy, a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it topless scene, and plenty of drug and alcohol references — enough to ensure a solid “R” rating. Sprinkle in some blatant product placement. Stir well with a talented cast that includes Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, and Jonah Hill and you get The Watch.
Evan (Stiller) is a small town guy who manages a Costco and fills the void in his friendless life by starting multiple clubs. When his night watchman is murdered, Evan launches a neighborhood watch to catch the killer. That doesn’t sound like much of a launching pad for a comedy, but it is the backdrop against which Even encounters the goofy Bob (Vaughn), the unstable Franklin (Hill), and the oddball Jamarcus (Richard Ayoade). The investigation uncovers more than the dutiful Watchers could ever have imagined — proof of an alien invasion. Silliness unfolds as the four friends attempt to save the earth.
Have you ever watched a movie and thought that you’d already seen all the funniest parts in the trailers? The Watch is one of those movies. The best stuff was condensed and consolidated into two minutes of previews on TV. It’s not that it is a bad film. There are moments of good humor and solid comedic performances by the four leads. But it never manages to splice the funny bits together into anything more than an average comedy.
The Watch is a moderately entertaining hour and a half, but nothing close to a classic. A year later most viewers will have forgotten all but the most general outline of the movie. If you enjoy lowbrow comedy, The Watch may be worth a watch when it hits DVD (given its opening weekend performance that won’t be a very long wait) but I wouldn’t recommend spending your hard-earned cash to see it in the theater.