The Watch - Jonah Hill, Ben Stiller, Richard Ayoade and Vince Vaughn star in the sci-fi comedy

It’s suburban nitwits versus scaly aliens in The Watch, a crude and sloppy sci-fi comedy that wastes a promising cast on a lame script.

Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, Jonah Hill and Richard Ayoade, comic stars drawn from both sides of the Atlantic, play the members of a hapless Ohio neighbourhood watch team formed by Stiller’s store manager Evan after one of his security guards is found gorily murdered.

But antsy do-gooder Evan struggles to turn party-hearty Bob (Vaughn), immature police force reject Franklin (Hill) and randy newly-divorced Brit Jamarcus (The IT Crowds Ayoade) into zealous civic vigilantes until he discovers that a bunch of slimy extraterrestrials are plotting an invasion from the basement of his cash-and-carry superstore.

With this cast and this set-up, we could have had comic fireworks; instead, thanks to slapdash direction and slack pacing, The Watch is a damp squib – so much so that even Vaughn’s quick-fire smut fails to ignite. When it comes to thrills, scares and good jokes, Joe Cornish’s terrific hoodies vs aliens sci-fi horror comedy mash-up Attack the Block puts The Watch to shame.

On general release from Friday 24th August.