The comedy duo of Simon Pegg and Nick Frost has proved a winning combination over the past decade. Having originally worked together on the television series, “Spaced”, the two moved into the film industry for both “Shaun of the Dead” and “Hot Fuzz” – two films that have received rave critical reviews.
Whereas their two previous outings were co-written by Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg teamed up with Nick Frost to write a homage to “E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial,” in the form of “Paul”.
Despite being a comedy science-fiction film, the film seems to be predominantly about the viewer spotting references to other sci-fi flicks, which is understandable with Simon Pegg and Nick Frost being well-known geeks. For example: during a scene in the Wild West Bar, the cantina music (evident in “Star Wars”) can be heard.
While there are still comedy elements in the film, the laughs come from the slapstick nature of the characters, rather than the spoken dialogue, so that it appeals to the American market. Rather than the two main protagonists getting all the funny lines, the humour is well distributed through all the characters.
Someone that particularly stands out is Ruth Buggs (Kritsten Wiig), the love interest of the film, who provides a lot of the laughs with her ‘sinning,’ after changing her Christian ways – a controversial aspect of the film.
However, the film’s strongest character is Paul, voiced by Seth Rogen – a perfect choice to reflect the personality of the alien. The foul-mouthed, smoking alien, an obvious parody of E.T., is the highlight of the film but, more impressively, has been very well implemented through CGI.
The sub-plot in the film consists of the ‘bromance’ between Graeme and Clive being disrupted by the introduction of Ruth Buggs, who Graeme takes a fancy to. Disappointingly, the sub-plot isn’t particularly entertaining and there is far too much focus on it, disrupting the flow of the film.
Furthermore, the film’s action scenes are somewhat substandard. The director, Greg Mottola (“Superbad,” “Adventureland”), made some poor choices in terms of editing, with car chases mostly consisting of bird’s eye view shots and slow shot changes.