“Haven’t you just won a Nickelodeon Kid’s choice award.”
When you’re used to comedy just putting enough funny people in a room and riffing jokes until they feel they’ve hit their quota for that five-minute long scene it’s easy to see the ridiculousness of it rather than just keep laughing. So when Ben Stiller, Jonah Hill, Vince Vaughn and Richard Ayoade are the four, skepticism is all around for me. While each of these actors have been funny here and there, they’ve also ( with the exception of Ayoyde, who I haven’t seen that much of yet) had their bad days, and as of recent Stiller, Hill and Vaughn have been batting less than .300 nowadays.
The film’s simple plot of these four individuals bonding over this new Neighbourhood Watch team mixed in with an alien invasion keeps things low-key enough that the intensely amazing aforementioned riffing nature work so well. Each of these characters have their own ridiculous quirk that helps make the clash of personalities create its own little comedy beats. You have the weirdly passive guy, Jamarcus (Richard Ayoade), the psycho, Franklin (Jonah Hill), the one just looking to have fun, Bob (Vince Vaughn), and the control freak, Evan (Ben Stiller). Throw in a few wonderful side characters, like Sgt. Bressman (Will Forte) and a great cameo by R. Lee Ermey and you’ve ironed out a great ninety minutes of funny.
There’s no way to get around it, while the film is funny overall there are points where it does quite hit the mark, but it’s to be expected from any comedy. The film’s plot – while not exactly unprecedented – is weak at times and sits at the back burner to these guys all trying something cool with the jokes, but I would’ve preferred, in light of the film like Attack the Block, for this movie to try and embed the narrative into the humour a lot more, rather than just make another The Babysitter with more comedians.
It isn’t the comedy of the summer, I’d even go so far as to say that I don’t think we really had a “comedy of the summer” this summer, that it hoped it would be, but it’s a fair enough distraction to warrant a nice matinee viewing.