The Watch

I don’t remember the last funny film that Ben Stiller made but the sad fact is that it was probably Dodgeball. And so, with a sense of trepidation, I went to see The Watch a new film with Stiller, Vince Vaughn (another man of no recent hits), Jonah Hill and, intriguingly, Richard Ayoade. The film starts slowly and quietly, there are a few jokes but they don’t really make an impression. The audience is quiet, maybe a snicker here and there, maybe not. It’s not until the doorbell rings and Ayoade’s oddball turns up that I actually hear people laughing out loud. Maybe it’s just because we’re in England but Ayoade certainly felt like The Watch’s redemption.

The film is my least favourite of all things (well, perhaps, second least favourite after comedy and action) a blend of comedy and sci-fi. Bit budget comedies, as I have said nigh on a million times, do not work. They are shit, time after time. The Watch isn’t really an exception but it manages to look more like a B-movie than many of its counterparts, and the aliens, like in Attack the Block, are all performed by people in suits. So the aliens are schlocky rather than the big budget, unamused affairs of recent ‘super comedies’.

The trouble is the laugh rate. Is low. Not dangerously so, but for a movie that is all about bromatic vulgarity and contains a very talented comic lead quartet it’s still a disappointment. There are bits and pieces to enjoy (Rosemarie DeWitt is becoming one of my new favourite actresses) and Ayoade’s schtick works very well in the small town American setting. But after this year’s superb 21 Jump Street you kind of want talent like this to execute better. All the good ideas in the world can’t help you if the audience isn’t giggling.

Not as funny as it ought to be and, as a result, this can’t be seen as anything but a misfire. Not awful in places though.

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2.5
Title: The Watch
Director: Akiva Schaffer
Starring: Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, Richard Ayoade, Jonah Hill, Rosemarie DeWitt
Running Time : 102 minutes
Certificate: 15

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