The worried neighborhood dudes of "The Watch" may be looking to the skies, but the real threat to their peace of mind is much, much closer to home.
This Ben Stiller vehicle bounces along as a ramshackle, intermittently funny combination: half male panic attack, half commercial for a large, "buyers club" store chain whose name consists of six letters. beginning with "C" and ending in "o."
It samples a bit of "E.T.," riffs on "Alien," but plunges face-first into "The Neighbors," John Belushi's last movie. As there, "The Watch" introduces a nebbishy leading man in a sweat.
Stiller's Evan Trautwig, manager of the local branch of that frequently mentioned merchandise mart, tells himself that he is content in his small Ohio town. But this is the 21st Century: all worries, mate.
In parallel to our entire national security apparatus, Evan's underlying unease centers on performance. Oh, Evan insists that he performs fine, but his sperm are letting down his hot-to-conceive wife Abby (Rosemarie DeWitt). Not that he has told her about them.
Evan literally runs around town forming clubs of acquaintances who substitute for friends, including the runners club. He proudly checks off their various ethnicities; though he still has an opening for a black friend, he's looking.
Evan is especially proud of night security man Antonio (Joe Nunez), who has just become an American citizen. But perhaps this is not the best night for Antonio to be working late. For our Hollywood racial checklist, "The Watch" offers Hispanic as the new black.
Solving Antonio's gruesome demise is well beyond the skill set of the local police department. But Evan is not going to let the matter drop. He rallies the town...or at any rate, three other guys.
Franklin (Jonah Hill), still living with mom, has transferred his hostility to the small police department in their Ohio town. It seems Franklin failed the department's written exam, and the physical, and the mental health screening. Now, he makes do with having bigger guns and larger resentments.
C----o member Bob (Vince Vaughn) is living large, if you are counting by screen size, pixels and probably electric bills. He has collected plenty of toys for his man cave, but his mind is upstairs where teen daughter Chelsea is planning god-knows-what with her bad-influence friend and untrustworthy boyfriend.
Then, unexpectedly, Jamarcus shows up as well. Since he's played by the mixed-race British comedian Richard Ayoade, an enthusiastic Evan sees an opportunity to fill that gap on his friends list. New in town, Jamarcus just wants to help, though his great expectation is that whilst on patrol, his privates might encounter an Asian housewife.