March 28, 2011
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Simon Pegg and Nick Frost are two of Britain’s biggest comedy stars, and they have good reason to be. In their two previous films “Shaun of the Dead” and “Hot Fuzz” they’ve shown that they have perfect comedic chemistry and play off each other’s personas very well. Pegg being the confident leader while Frost is the fat oaf.

In their latest film “Paul” (directed by Greg Mottola) they don’t necessarily bring anything new to the table but who cares, they’re good at what they do, never really running into any awkward moments and they make you care about their characters. They play Graeme Willy and Clive Golings, two British sci fi nerds on a road trip to visit all the famous UFO hot spots in the U.S. On the way they encounter an alien named Paul (Seth Rogan) on the run from Area 51.

Even though the general buddy comedy structure is in place, the premise is actually very original. Two guys traveling with an escaped alien, that’s a first.

Much like Frost and Pegg, Rogan doesn’t really bring anything new to the character. Paul is basically every other character Rogan has portrayed in the past, except in this case he’s in the shape of a little grey man. He’s a joker, a pot smoker, a drinker, trash talker and sometimes disgusting but hey, that’s what he’s become famous for and he’s effective.

The script, written by Pegg and Frost, was at its best when it stuck with the alien/sci fi jokes and references. Like when Paul says that anal probing is totally useless or when we find out Paul gave inspiration to Steven Spielberg for “ET.” The movie is for the most part a homage to alien pop culture. Just as “Shaun of the dead” was homage to the zombie craze and “Hot Fuzz” to murder mysteries.

However, at times there were these obscure jokes about weed and religion and other things that didn’t really fit in. And usually when there are weed jokes in a movie that Seth Rogen is in as well, you know he had something to do with it.

Also the story was somewhat cluttered. In addition to the nerds and Paul There are couple of Government agents who are try to catch Paul and return him to the base and a religious father pursues his daughter (played by an awkward Kristin Wigg) who decides to accompany the three. There was a lot going on and most of the time when all of the separate parties came together it resulted in a boring gunfight or car chase.

The main reason why this movie isn’t as up to par with Pegg and Frost’s previous films is because they aren’t working with their usual director, Edward Wright (Who also co wrote the scripts with Pegg) but instead working with Mottola, who did the 2007 teen buddy comedy “Super Bad.” It’s not that Mottola is a bad director but the two have different comedy styles and both the humor and story lines in “Shaun” and “Fuzz” were much more clever then “Super Bad.” A good way to sum up “Paul” is: “Super Bad” meets “Shaun of the Dead” and that mixture of different styles didn’t really add up too well.

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