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The Watch

Year: 2012
Production Co: 21 Laps Entertainment
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Director: Akiva Schaffer
Producer: Shawn Levy
Writer: Jared Stern/Seth Rogen/Evan Goldberg
Cast: Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughan, Jonah Hill, Richard Ayoade, Doug Jones, R Lee Ermey

There's one reason alone to see this movie. Three reasons, actually. Hill, Stiller and Vaughan are like three friends sitting around drinking beer trying to make each other laugh, They share the patty-cake repartee that's become popular in movie comedies since Judd Apatow rose to prominence, and they make it funny and charming.

It's also the only selling point in what could have been the dumbest film of the year. Every other aspect of the story, the effects and the action is little more than adequate, and it's only when the three leads are off the leash doing their thing that you'll enjoy yourself. The laughs come fast enough so you don't realise what a stupid movie you've just watched until it's over.

I also realise I keep referring to 'three' leads. The stated aim of the film seems to be to set Ayoade apart, not just because of the character twist that comes about just before the climax but because he's always just outside the circle. Everything from his accent to his name after the title in the credits sequence (where Stiller, Vaughan and Hill's are before it) sets him apart.

An officious little man (Stiller) who's way too community minded decides to start a Neighbourhood Watch program after the security guard who works at his big box store workplace is murdered in a grisly fashion one night (props to Costco for the front-and-centre product placement deal).

He recruits a weird British guy (The IT Crowd's Ayoade), a twitchy and misguided urban vigilante (Hill) and a guy who just wants to hang out and goof off (Vaughan), so it seems the plan will never come together. But when the gang stumble upon the trail of a forthcoming alien invasion they realise it's up to them to stop it.

The alien plotline is completely redundant, it could just as easily have been robbers or terrorists. The premise and set-up are nothing more than foil for the comedy banter. Some jokes are genuinely surprising and some are expected but funny nonetheless because of the chemistry and charisma on screen, but it's all the Vince, Jonah and Ben stand-up show.

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