The Watch is a silly little comedy that should keep everybody entertained except some who will find parts of it too grisly realistic and some who are sensitive to bad language.
It is not out to inspire thought or emotions, just laughter, and it doesn’t try to conceal its dependence on other movies, snips of which you will recognize almost like a leit motif, especially if you see more action and sci-fi movies than I do.
Only at the end does it forget to be funny and turn into standard sci-fi action, and even when it does, it offers a pretty good action final, predictable though it may be to you.
The opening sequence mixes comedy and stock horror motifs in a way that predicts the movie as a whole, and makes no attempt to engage us emotionally beyond a moment of shock that reminded me of Bonnie and Clyde, which you needn’t be reminded of and which may be coincidental – none of the allusions to other movies are essential, and none do any harm.
Then Ben Stiller tries to assemble his neighborhood watch to catch the killer, and all he can recruit are Vince Vaughn, Jonah Hill, and Richard Ayoade, all admirably fearless but easily distracted, Vaughn especially stealing the show with his empty-headed enthusiasm erupting into inappropriate bursts of energy, motormouthing in all directions somewhat like John Goodman in The Big Lebowski, another allusion you don’t have to catch, if an allusion is intended at all.
Watch Rosemarie DeWitt as Stiller’s wife and Erin Moriarty as Vaughn’s daughter, though. They have some surprises you won’t see coming.