Director: Gregg Mottola
Written By: Simon Pegg and Nick Frost
Starring: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Seth Rogen
Running Time: 104 Minutes
Review By Sub-Editor Ross Hughes
Paul hits the DVD shelves this week to not much acclaim from this HCF critic. New readers may think I am a bit of snob and childish jokes about farts, sex and drugs is not my cup of tea but you could not be more wrong. I am one of only a few who are looking forward to the next American Pie film and quite possibly the greatest experience I ever had at a cinema was watching There Is Something About Mary which had such an electric atmosphere, I still get hairs standing at the back of the neck just thinking about it. So why did a film about an Alien who likes nothing more than to swear and smoke dope simply went over my head. I am not saying I hated this film, but I just found it quite boring and I expected more of the duo that gave us the classic Shaun Of The Dead and the rather excellent Hot Fuzz.
But maybe that is the problem with Paul, not the CGI Alien itself, that gatecrashes the duo who are on their way from their trip to Comic Con, but more of the film itself, its just this is not has some may believe the third film in the Shaun and Fuzz films. Yes it does seem the more logical step after dealing with Zombies and a murderous town that the next topic would be Aliens and there is enough material in the genre for a cracking comedy, but the lack of the third talent and what seems the most important part of the team the certain Edgar Wright who directed and co-write the previous two films is missing from the line up. So while fans may be thinking that this is the next line of film, in reality this is more in tune of the Never Say Never Again Bond film, its the same style and theme but not quite in the official cannon.
Its the touch of Wright that is lacking in the overall film. It seems that while Pegg and Frost are always their likeable self, the lack of jokes and just overall silliness on display is really off putting. The two who wrote the film seem to miss the figure of Wright to tell them that while they are having fun making the movie and believe me the bloopers in the DVD extra are a riot, the movie itself is just not funny and they are not being as clever as they think with the written script. It says something bad about a movie that after twenty five minutes I was still waiting for my first laugh and I already felt the first hint of boredom that would soon engulf me through out the running time.
The plot itself is old hat. I understand that this is a comedy homage to all the Alien features from the past -most notably E.T.-but you just wish that they added some freshness to the over famialty that we witness. There is nothing new I can say. Graeme (Pegg) and Clive (Frost) are comic geeks who decide to attend Comic-Con and sight see the famous landmarks where UFO’s have been witnessed, on their way to Area 51 they see a car crash and an Alien named Paul (voiced by Seth Rogen) emerge from the wreckage. This creature is not quite as friendly has the one who just wanted to phone home, Paul likes to swear a lot, drink and dabble in some drugs, this is supposed to bring the laughs while the serious plot involves the typical F.B.I. Agent Lorenzo Zoil (Jason Bateman) hot on their trail.
Its the jokes that just fall flat, its alarming at how bad and lazy they come across on the screen. One example of this is when they go looking for a firework and they pick the one that plays the theme from Close Encounters Of The Third Kind, a gag that Moonraker done many many moons ago. The sad indication that despite the 15 rating, this film is aimed mostly for the under 13’s because my young boy sitting next to me was laughing his head off at the many scenes while I was just wishing for the end to come!
Am I being harsh? Well that is for you to judge. I know this has many fans and at times the film does show glimpses of the quality that the duo can bring, but the over reliance of words such as “cocksucker, hairy balls and fuck” on what seems a constant loop is as tiring as the plot that is on offer. When we get to the delightful surprise cameo at the climax, the film did become quite interesting for a brief spell but that is all undone by the lame “get away from her your bitch!” in joke which ends the film with a huge sigh from the viewer of yet another not so clever gag, or of relief that the film is finally finishing.
Right at the end Frost says “well that was good!”……maybe for you mate, but for me I wait for the official third film to end the Cornetto trilogy, perhaps then we see a return to form from the much liked duo, because this outing is more in tune with Morons From Outer Space than say the deilghts of Galaxy Quest!.