The Watch - TV Review

'Soon descends into a hackneyed alien invasion plot held together by puerile humour and unimpressive special effects'.

The Watch presents the kind of lazy, cobbled together comedy that is sadly inherent to contemporary mainstream cinema. Featuring four actors who individually have all been part of enjoyable and worthwhile movies in the past, this is simply an excuse for the central cast to waste both the audience's time and their own for a hundred minutes.

Ben Stiller delivers the less interesting one of the two stock characters he has played for much of his career - the mildly neurotic everyman who it's impossible to have any strong feelings about either way. Vince Vaughn remains firmly on autopilot, essentially playing exactly the same character as he did twelve years ago in Old School and proving his foul-mouthed loudmouth repertoire is well and truly stale. Jonah Hill does himself no favours in a second-fiddle role to Vaughn's character, especially considering The Watch came out in the same year as 21 Jump Street which utilised Hill's particular brand of comedy effectively rather than allow the actor to essentially dick about aimlessly for most of the running time. What on earth Richard Ayoade is doing anywhere near this film, let alone co-starring in it, is anyone's guess.

With a script rewritten from Jared Stern's teen-focused original by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, The Watch unsurprisingly ends up light on plot and heavy on juvenile comedy. The humour is pitched at the level where characters repeatedly describing something as having the consistency of semen is worthy of more than one iteration in the film. Whilst the opening act presents a couple of potentially interesting ideas, this soon descends into a hackneyed alien invasion plot held together by puerile humour and unimpressive special effects. There are occasional twists in the plot, but spotting them relatively early on won't pose any problems for the vast majority of the audience.

So butchered and weighed down by its own failed comedy does the script become in the hands of Rogen and Goldberg that it's hard to fathom whether or not The Watch was ever a good idea in the first place. There are elements here which feel reminiscent of 2011's Attack The Block, so handled in the right way (i.e. not this way) there's an argument to be had that the film's potential has been squandered by Rogen, Goldberg and director Akiva Schaffer. The Watch is such a comprehensive failure, however, that giving it points on what it could have been feels both redundant and overly generous.

By Ben Broadribb. Ben is a regular contributor to Film Intel, having previously written at Some Like It Hot Fuzz. He is normally seen in the wild wearing t-shirts containing obscure film references. He is a geek, often unashamedly so. He's also on and Twitter.


  1. I can't believe they made this film near my town and in my actual high school. I know my town isn't much but it deserves better than this. Plus, I would really want to beat the shit out of Vince Vaughn for just not being funny.

    1. Vince Vaughn is one of those actors I've always felt does comedy because that's what he wants to do and not because he's very good at it, and for some reason nobody has the backbone to tell him that. The only films I've ever genuinely found him funny in are Anchorman and its sequel.

      As for The Watch, it's one of those films that gets less funny every time you remember something about it. Genuinely awful.