Two English comic book fans on a UFO-sighting tour in America pick-up a smart-ass alien named Paul. Simon Pegg and Nick Frost (who both also wrote the script) play the fans, Seth Rogen voices Paul and Greg Mottola (Superbad) directs. With so much reliable talent involved in this film it is extremely disappointing that it is only a mildly amusing comedy with a smattering of reasonably fun science-fiction references.
To be fair there are several supporting actors who provide some great moments to rise above the anal probe and ‘we’re not gay not that there’s anything wrong with that’ gags. Jason Bateman as a mysterious government agent and Kristen Wiig as a fundamentalist Christian discovering the joys of swearing are especially enjoyable.
The final act is reasonably strong but it’s too little too late. The film is overly reliant on Pegg’s, Frost’s and Rogen’s personas for laughs with none of them doing anything we haven’t seen before. There are some fun cameos and inspired moments suggesting how popular culture has been shaped by Paul’s presence on Earth, but this is overall a very average film.
Originally appeared in The Big Issue, No. 378, 2011