- Make them laugh.
- Remind them how fantastic humans are in relation to the rest of the universe's life forms.
And although, to a certain extent, 'The Watch' managed to do both, it did both in disappointingly mediocre ways, considering the potential that the film had.
Costco store manager Evan (Stiller) starts up a neighbourhood watch programme after his night-guard is killed in a brutal attack. After he makes an appeal for members to join the neighbourhood watch programme at a local football game, he manages to interest only three other men into protecting their town. None of the three of them are what Evan had in mind. Overprotective father Bob (Vince Vaughn) annoys Evan as it quickly becomes clear that he just joined the watch to make new friends. Franklin (Jonah Hill) uses the watch as a substitute for the police department after they rejected him because of his mental health. And Jamarcus (Richard Ayoade)? Let's just say that his motives involve a lonely housewife and an inappropriate token of appreciation. They start off by searching for the night-guard's murderer, but the quad come across something much more deadly that doesn't only threaten the lives of their town, but those of the whole world...
Like most films of late, 'The Watch' suffers from being too ambitious. It tries to touch on a number of different genres, focusing primarily on comedy and sci-fi, but also trying to fit into horror, drama and action genres. Although pigeon holing your film into one particular genre isn't a great thing, it means that you focus on making that element of the film into a success, without trying to drag elements of other genres into the works.
Although 'The Watch' has some laugh out loud moments, most of the gags are carried on for too long or were stale in the first place. The film's comedy is a mixture of gross out gags and visual humour. The stand-out scene is undeniably the one where the guys are trying to take an iconic picture to document their monumental discovery of alien life... but results in a series of shots that look as though they deserve to be uploaded to facebook under the album title "Spring break". The cast delivered their individual performances well, but there was a necessary spark missing when they were all interacting in a group.
My advice is to go into the film with low expectations and you might come out surprised.
Or, better yet, just give this one a miss and go see 'Ted' while you still can.