If there’s something strange in your neighbourhood, who are you going to call? Ben Stiller apparently. One of Hollywood’s most prolific comedy actors heads up the cast of Akiva Schaffer’s The Watch (2012), a new US comedy which also stars Vince Vaughn, Jonah Hill and our very own Richard Ayoade. The first teaser trailer and poster art has just been released for the film, which follows four everyday suburban Joes as they serve and protect an affluent suburban neighbourhood.
With a winged tiger emblem on their car doors and jackets, Stiller et al. are the ‘Neighbourhood Watch’, scoping out potential criminals whilst at the same time escaping the tedium of their day-to-day lives. Little do they know, however, that their neighbourhood has actually been overrun by aliens disguised as residents, and now they will have to get serious and fight to save the world.
If the concept sounds familiar, it might be because it owes something to Joe Cornish’s brilliant space invaders comedy Attack the Block (2011), mixed with a dash of ‘Desperate Househusbands’. In the teaser trailer, there is as yet no trace of the Invasion of the Body Snatchers-style plot, but the poster features a District 9-esque ‘No aliens welcome’ sign complete with bullet holes and green blood.
Although Stiller’s films often range from the gloriously funny (Zoolander  and The Royal Tenenbaums ) to the horrifically inglourious (Meet the Museum), with the right material he is still capable of comic brilliance: see the underrated Noah Baumbach’s Greenberg (2010) for recent evidence. The rest of the The Watch clan is made up of the familiar faces of Vince Vaughn, whose output has likewise been erratic of late (to put it kindly) and Jonah Hill, following his more serious Oscar-nominated role in Moneyball (2011). A relatively fresh face is provided by Submarine (2010) director Richard Ayoade, who completes the posse with his first major feature film acting role.
Saturday Night Live regular Akiva Schaffer directs only his second feature after the enjoyable Hot Rod (2007), but with a script by Judd Apatow stalwarts Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, The Watch has all the potential needed to be a comedy hit.
Neighbourhood Watch is released in UK cinemas on 24 August, 2012.