Do you count yourself among those who saw the trailer for this and thought "Dude, that looks so generic, I think I'll just wait for the rental release"? Well, you and me both. I knew I'd probably see it sooner or later though, as virtually everything that involves the combination of aliens and comedy is too appealing as a concept not to be watched.
This is no new Paul or Galaxy Quest, however. More like an American take on Attack the Block, but without the niftiness and innovation. That isn't to say I didn't enjoy it, because overall, it's reasonably fun. It just isn't the type of sci-fi romp that leaves a desire for repeated viewings. Ergo, my early predictions proved rather accurate.
The whole escapade takes off when CostCo manager Evan - that's right: expect no subtlety as far as what financed this film - is faced with the gruesome death of a colleague who is mysteriously offed during his night shift. Spooked by the event, Evan decides to put together a neighborhood watch, rallying up some local enthusiasts for the cause (read: vigilante-aspiring nitwits), who - as you may surely imagine - are in it for all the wrong reasons.
Patrolling the vicinity, acting all gangsta with their newfound pseudo-authority, they come upon the discovery that malevolent extra-terrestials have infiltrated their suburban community. Now they must save the world from a pending invasion, all the while juggling some family issues that show signs of apparent contrivance. Squeezed in by formula, not so much by ambition. In fact, it's but a foot note in a movie that prides itself more in its penis gags.
Ben Stiller gives the standard issue, phoned-in performance. Jonah Hill (whom I'm normally a fan of) is mostly just weird, having put on a few pounds again since his role in 21 Jump Street. And Vince Vaughn, well, he doesn't look like he got any sleep before the shooting of this either. New to the posse is comedy actor Richard Ayoade, who makes his Hollywood debut here as Jamarcus. American audiences are probably unfamiliar with him, but those who have seen the British sitcom "The IT Crowd" know what a hilarious guy he is. Sadly though, due to the second-rate writing, he didn't really get to show what he's made of here.
That, in turn, leads me to the next point. I didn't expect this film to have engaging dialogue, but with a script penned by Seth Rogen and Evan "Superbad" Goldberg, you'd think it'd be a little funnier. The cast really seems to enjoy themselves, but it seldom made me laugh or even snicker. If Michael Bay had a private library (not likely, but assume he does for the sake of argument), this is surely inspired from his manual of "Alien invasion comedies for dummies".
Aside from the distinct impressions of a hack job, at least it never bored me though. Very uneven and pedestrian, but the chemistry between the cast made it all worthwhile. So with Ted being the best comedy of the year so far and That's My Boy being the worst, The Watch stations itself as somewhat of a middle feature. Out of the "suck zone" but not in the "wow section" either. Unless Vince Vaughn peeing in a soda can constitutes hilarity to you. Then you're probably going to have a blast with this.