Review: Is The Watch actually worth watching?

Rated: 15

Directed By: Akiva Schaffer

Starring: Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, Jonah Hill and Richard Ayoade

The Watch on paper looks very promising. It brings four comedic heavyweights together in Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, Jonah Hill and The IT Crowd’s Richard Ayoade for a film that offers comedy with a sci-fi angle. But is The Watch actually worth watching? Well… yes and no.

Evan Trautwig (Ben Stiller) is a man of many jobs in his small town in Ohio. He’s the manager of the local Costco as well as the founder of the town’s running club and the Spanish table at the community centre.

After a local tragedy he decides to rise to the call to start a neighbourhood watch. For a small-scale community one would think it would be rather straightforward, but of course, this being a movie, it is never quite that easy. Evan and his fellow watchers, Bob (Vaughn), Franklin (Hill) and Jamarcus (Ayoade) discover something (quite literally) out of this world. Aliens.

It’s a pretty decent set-up, but not much could be the same for the comedic tone of the film until the ball starts rolling. It’s a rather slow burn to start, lacking on jokes and actual funny jokes when there are. It’s not till the second half when the movie starts to pick up the pace with funny moments and jokes handled well by the talents of the cast.

The cast is pitch perfect and fit well into their characters. Stiller as the high maintenance leader who needs to loosen up, Vaughn as the one who’s a bit too loosened up (unless his teenage daughter is involved of course), Hill as the high-school drop-out wannabe cop with a penchant for violence and Ayoade as the one who doesn’t quite gel with the rest of the gang bringing a dash of awkwardness. 

They are all well suited for their roles, which makes it even more disappointing that Ayoade is criminally underused. This is to be expected to a degree however as Ayoade hasn’t quite crossed over into the American market this movie was made towards yet. Should Ayoade continue appearing in American movies (which may prove fruitful with his IT Crowd co-star Chris O’Dowd recently doing the same) it would be desirable to showcase some more of his talent.

This movie was never going to be the next Ghostbusters but it was a shame that the assembled cast could only deliver an average flick that cruised through its 102-minute runtime. The explosive finale and other set-pieces deliver but its true weakness is that it doesn’t deliver any truly hilarious jokes or quotable lines. 

A film that struggles to juggle its sci-fi and comedy themes, The Watch takes a while to pick up speed but once it does it holds pace until the end. There are laughs here and there with a cast that works well together, but it ultimately fails to fully turn the lemons it’s given into lemonade.

It’s a slightly disappointing movie that just misses the target, but it’s not a complete waste of your time. You can still give The Watch a watch, but don’t expect to have your world rocked.  


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