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A promising cast of star players come together for this amusing suburban brom-com about a neighbourhood watch group that gets more than they bargain for when investigating the mysterious death of a shop security guard.

Store manager and community-minded good guy Evan (Ben Stiller) pulls together a gang of oddballs – Vince Vaughn, Jonah Hill and Richard Ayoade – to get to the bottom of a grisly skin-removing murder at his branch of a warehouse discount store.

The group quickly establish themselves as the town joke, getting an egging from a gang of teens and harassment from the local police.

Director and SNL alumni Akiva Schaffer (helmsman for the underrated Hot Rod), working from a script by Seth Rogen, Jared Stern and Evan Goldberg, is happy to let his cast take control.

The IT Crowd’s Ayoade doesn’t quite gel with the US cast, despite having his moments playing a geeky pervert who’s more interested in meeting lonely Asian housewives than solving crime.

Vaughn, as overprotective man-child-dad Bob, is granted room to shine, though, as he goes off on wild tangents and rants that see him back to his rapid-fire Wedding Crashers best.

With as many laugh-out-loud moments as there are awkwardly mistimed gags and half-baked cock jokes, the action gets funnier when the mystery of the town’s deadly invaders is revealed.

This is an enjoyable bit of light-hearted entertainment that attempts the goofball small-town vigilantism of Eighties classics, such as The ‘Burbs. But the promising cast and misguided script don’t always deliver the goods.

Good for: Fans of Stiller and Vaughn, even when they’re on bronze, rather than gold, form


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Film review: The Watch
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