I have come to shudder at the sight of seeing Seth Rogen's name associated with a comedy. It seems so long ago that he penned "Superbad" that it feels like maybe he paid someone else to write it for him. I mean seriously after the brilliant "Superbad" in 2007, he has since inked the awful "Drillbit Taylor", the almost funny "Pineapple Express" and the miserable "The Green Hornet" - which he completely butchered! And he wrote all of those scripts with his favorite collaborator Evan Goldberg.


Well, they've done it again; they've teamed up on the screenplay for "The Watch". Uh oh. It has been classified as a "science fiction/comedy". There's that word "comedy" attached to Rogen.


On the plus side, it has Jonah Hill in the cast! On the down side it was directed by Akiva Schaffner, the same guy who directed "Hot Rod" five years ago. If you don't remember that little gem, you are most fortunate. On the plus side it also stars Ben Stiller and Vince Vaughn. On the down side it also stars Ben Still and Vince Vaughn.

It took me a minute to figure out that Ben Stiller isn't a very good comedian. True he has appeared in some good comedies, but it's generally everything (and everyone) else around him that's funny... not him. And Vaughn seems to have one shtick and it is growing old.


Still plays Evan, a married go getter who manages a towns Costco - which apparently took him some doing get advanced to that point. To round out his need for self fulfillment he also organized a self-fulfilling running club, a self-fulfilling oversight committee on the town council and a self-fulfilling immigration class.


All this keeps him busy and away from his wife; his wife who is trying to get pregnant.


After closing up the Costco one night, he left the security guard - one of his immigration students - and, the guard was killed. Killed and skinned in fact. A case so baffling the small town police are overwhelmed.

Evan becomes proactive and forms a Neighborhood Watch Group to help get to the bottom of the murder. However, instead of a group civil-minded go-getters, he gets three guys who are more interested in drinking beer and getting laid. Bob (Vaughn), Franklin (Hill) and Jamarcus (Richard Ayoade). Moreover they get absolutely nothing but resistance from the police led by Sgt Bressman (Will Forte).


At first everyone is a suspect in the murder, until they discover the murder was done by aliens who are planning to conquer the world - starting with this suburb.


They learn this after finding a ray gun weapon that belongs to the aliens. Never mind the stuff in between, it just becomes a race to discover where the aliens are, how to defeat them and save the planet.


Oh, also in the mix is Bob's floozie daughter Chelsea (Erin Moriarty) and Evan's horny by unsatisfied wife Abby (Rosemarie DeWitt).


What works is Jonah Hill's character and there is some imagination but... that's about it. The plot twist you'll figure out within seconds while Vaughn does his same old shtick and Stiller again flails away at being unfunny. To his credit Ayoade seems to know his limitations.


"The Watch" is yet another reason Seth Rogen needs to stay away from writing comedy. Fortunately, Jonah Hill's position is strong enough that he can survive this dog. The rest, well...   -- GEOFF BURTON