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STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
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Tragic 1 Star

POSTER ART
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FILM DETAILS
Certificate
15
Cast
Ben Stiller
Vince Vaughn
Richard Ayoade
Rosemarie DeWitt
Jonah Hill.
Directors
Akiva Schaffer.
Screenwriters
Seth Rogen
Evan Goldberg.
Running Time
102 minutes

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The Watch
Slack The Block


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Plot
Uptight suburbanite Evan Troutwig (Stiller) forms a Neighbourhood Watch scheme when one of his Costco employees is murdered. While hardly attracting the cream of the local crop, his rag-tag team will have to shape up fast when they discover an alien threat to their quiet town...


Review
The Watch
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When filmmakers act like mad scientists and splice together the DNA of comedy and sci-fi, the results can be mixed. Still, this mutant subgenre has given us Ghostbusters, the Men In Black movies and Tremors. Not without its own pleasures, The Watch attempts a similar synthesis of the urbane and the fantastic.

In this case, the alien invasion/paranoia plot is crossbred with the sort of occasionally gross-out-yet-heartfelt man-child business to be found across the careers of Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn and Jonah Hill. Stiller is the nervy type. Vaughn’s a slob with a heart. Hill’s the weird, angry one. Stop us if you’ve heard this before. Out they are wheeled again and we find Stiller’s Evan hiding from his issues in his quiet suburban ’hood by creating various groups, but rarely connecting with anyone. But when he starts the Neighbourhood Watch and meets Bob (Vaughn), Franklin (Hill) and Jamarcus (Richard Ayoade — who brings a fun riff on his IT Crowd persona), he finally gets the chance to bond. We’re also treated to pot shots at cop action clichés, including the foursome walking along in slo-mo to gangster rap, all falling rather flat after the success of 21 Jump Street.

Lonely Island/SNL director Akiva Schaffer is tasked with marshalling the madness and, as he proved on the underrated Hot Rod, he keeps the wacky visuals from overpowering the characters. The aliens are suitably threatening when they need to be — Schaffer is helped immensely by using practical creature effects for the extra-terrestrial marauders.

Despite a script from Jared Stern re-written by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, it takes a while to find a rhythm. These wannabe guardians of justice walk familiar paths, going from disrespected figures of fun to heroes as they figure out what’s really going on amidst the manicured lawns and neat houses. But as things kick into gear and the real scope of the off-world jeopardy becomes apparent, so the gag rate improves. Still, approaching nowhere near the inspired lunacy of, say, Gremlins, The Watch’s synthesis of sci-fi and comedy ultimately fails to pay homage to either.


Verdict
Lacking the bite of Attack The Block, Stiller and co. are happy to fall back on their usual shtick, with director Schaffer providing barely enough juice to power the laughs.


Reviewed by William Thomas

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Your Reviews

Average user rating for The Watch
Empire Star Rating

my shit review of 'The Watch'

Following the horrific murder and de-skinning of the security card at the Costco where Evan (Ben Stiller) works, he calls together a team of locals willing to help him where the police have failed. This team turns out to be more than the high strung Evan bargained for; a violent police force reject (Jonah Hill), an over enthusiastic, booze loving father (Vince Vaughan) and a curious, sexually voracious British migrant (Richard Ayoade). Various obligatory scenes of bonding follow and group dy... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by putthatcookiedown at 00:19, 06 September 2013 | Report This Post


RE: The Watch

I am quite confused by this film, If any of you are familiar with the Hulu made show, The 9 to 5'ers, I feel this is a true evolution of that show, Costco saw that show and thought if Subway can do it, why not Costco! The easiest movie to predict and the comedy was dryer than a dryer sheet. You'd think with such big names you could pull out some intelligent comedy, but it seems as if it was just a cash cow. I know for a fact all of these actors are smart and talented, so why, oh why? Such a mis... More

Posted by bydabeachman at 18:41, 01 July 2013 | Report This Post


RE:

I remember thinking when this was out in the cinema, how much it was advertised. Trailers on tv a lot. Posters everywhere. Now I have seen why. Complete and utter shit. I kept watching hoping it would get better, considering the cast. It didn't. Shit. ... More

Posted by moviebuff73 at 23:26, 04 June 2013 | Report This Post


This was by no means a good film, but moments did make me laugh - especially Vaughn (who I am not a massive fan of, yet thought he was one of the best things about this film). Watchable but a wasted opportunity with same old same old characters, plot and messages. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by danfacey711 at 02:54, 25 April 2013 | Report This Post


Crap

I have just turned the dvd off after about 25 minutes of nothing. Hated Vaughn, hated Hill, especially hated the cops (exactly the same as in Superbad - which I also hated). Love these comments though, everyone seems to agree with me about Rogen and his mini-me Hill. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by eddieryan at 16:54, 06 January 2013 | Report This Post


RE: Painful

The Watch Right I saw this on a long haul flight from Indonesia so forgive me if I possibly didn't look upon it too favourably haha. Oh have I just done the review? need I go on? This is one of those films that is split, it starts off really well with Stiller doing what he does best which is a parody of sorts. The warm cozy suburban life of Stiller's character is both amusing and easily the best section of the whole film. Add to the fray the always funny and shameless Vaughn whose bra... More

Posted by Phubbs at 07:01, 11 November 2012 | Report This Post


Painful

One of the worst films i've ever seen. We can't think of anything funny to say so lets a) shout, b) talk too much about nothing by giving something about 4 different terminoligies (every vince vaughan movie) or c) talk about willies or sex. How these all signed up to this shower of #### i will never know. and its a 15 as well, surely this should have been an 18, its just as bad as any Porkies movie from the 80's even though its apparently about an Alien Invasion. These films are embara... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by andygilligan at 09:53, 10 September 2012 | Report This Post


Not quite as bad as Empire suggests, but a two star "fair" rating seems about right. Some nice moments but also feels a little by the numbers with no particular USP. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by bretty at 11:36, 03 September 2012 | Report This Post


Not quite as bad as Empire suggests, but a two star "fair" rating seems about right. Some nice moments but also feels a little by the numbers with no particular USP. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by bretty at 11:36, 03 September 2012 | Report This Post


*shrugs* Far better than I'd feared...

I can't work out if it's in spite of its faults, or because of them that I enjoyed The Watch. I chuckled frequently throughout and guffawed three or four times, and the audience around me did the same, so it was doing something right. The film does try its hand at having a subtext about duty, friendship, and relationships. It's probably best if you ignore this, as it's been done so much better in the past by other movies. But at the same time, bonus points go to them for attempting it. Withou... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by TheMightyBlackout at 23:37, 02 September 2012 | Report This Post


RE: The Watch

I loved it. Vaughn was the best I've seen him in ages and Hill was great too. The aliens were surprisingly effective and you can never have too many slow-mo/hip-hop shots. 4/5 ... More

Posted by Castor Troy at 14:13, 31 August 2012 | Report This Post


What's with all the hate, folks?

The Watch is a very fun movie, not unlike any other comedy of its type. I don't get what the problem is: it's a fun ride and makes you laugh. It's not a masterpiece, btu there's nothing really wrong with it. I get the feeling people are trashing it for the sake of it... ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by jackstarr at 19:19, 30 August 2012 | Report This Post


RE: The Watch

It was ok, seen far worse. The Watch's biggest crime is the sheer mediocrity of it all, it's occasionally chucklesome, but never laugh out loud funny or completely awful either, it's just ok. The four leads are pretty much what you'd expect, so if you're not a Stiller/Vaughn/Hill/Ayoade fan then you need not apply. Two stars is about right to be fair, if you're a fan of the cast or this type of setup you'll probably find something to enjoy, everyone else should keep moving. 2/5 ... More

Posted by paulyboy at 17:02, 29 August 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Rogen, Stop This!

L: BenTramer Seth Rogen is a talentless moron. I don't know how that guy made it as an actor and he laughably thinks he can write now. Well he can't. He completely ruined The Green Hornet and now his name is on The Watch, I'll give it a miss. e has always been a writer, though. He wrote for TV shows (including Undeclared a decade ago) then films including Superbad and Pineapple Express.I am not defending his writing, by the way, just stating that Rogen writing is not a new occurrence ... More

Posted by Shifty Bench at 16:47, 29 August 2012 | Report This Post


RE: bizarre

In the small town of Glenview, Ohio, Evan Trautwig is an active participant in the community and the senior manager of the local Costco store. His life is disrupted when the store’s night security guard is murdered. The local police have no leads and show no interest in investigating further. Determined to find the killer and bring him to justice, Evan decides to form a Neighbourhood Watch. However, he only manages to recruit three other guys, and they seem to want to use the group as an ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Dr Lenera at 22:08, 28 August 2012 | Report This Post


bizarre

There seems to be about 4 films in one here. Some scenes/sub plots felt like they belonged in a totally different film. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by tysmuse at 22:02, 27 August 2012 | Report This Post


The "Don't" Watch!

Ah... Now I see how this is one of the unfuniest comedies ever made (Keith Lemon side), Seth Rogen had a hand in it. Surely he has made enough money on other crap he has written/ produced/ starred in! The guy just has no talent! Saying that I am bored to the teeth of seeing Vaughn, Stiller and Hill play the same character in every film they are in. Not to mention the non-funny Ayoade. Highlight of the film was when myself and the other three punters in the screen walked out. Utter tosh!! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by J_BUltimatum at 19:44, 27 August 2012 | Report This Post


Rogen, Stop This!

Seth Rogen is a talentless moron. I don't know how that guy made it as an actor and he laughably thinks he can write now. Well he can't. He completely ruined The Green Hornet and now his name is on The Watch, I'll give it a miss. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by BenTramer at 21:52, 24 August 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Ayoade, Stop This!

Jonah Hill as the weird angry one? No fucking way! How does this man keep reinventing himself?!?! ... More

Posted by UTB at 16:49, 22 August 2012 | Report This Post


Ayoade, Stop This!

I cannot forgive you or O'Dowd for being in any film until I get the fifth season/finale of the IT Crowd. I liked Submarine though. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by freyar_88 at 15:59, 22 August 2012 | Report This Post


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