Paul * * *

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Director: Greg Mottola.
Screenplay: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost.
Starring: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Kristen Wiig, John Carroll Lynch, Jason Bateman, Jeffrey Tambor, Jane Lynch Sigourney Weaver, Bill Hader, Joe Lo Truglio, David Koechner, Blythe Danner.
Voice of: Seth Rogen.

After the British success of “Shaun of the Dead” and “Hot Fuzz”, messers Simon Pegg and Nick Frost go American with this latest collaboration. Gone is director Edgar Wright from the aforementioned films and replaced by “Superbad” director Greg Mottola with mixed results.

Graeme (Pegg) and Clive (Frost) are two British geeks on a road trip of the US. Along the way, they pick up an unexpected hitchhiker – a small, foul-mouthed alien called Paul (Seth Rogen), who enlists the duo to help him get him home. But the Government has other ideas, dispatching agents to pursue the trio.

Fans of Pegg and Frost will no doubt lap this up and some may even be happy about the arrival of Mottola. I however, find the comic duo a bit hit-and-miss and I find Mottola even less appealing. The highlight of this film is the voice and humour of Seth Rogen. In a film littered with unnecessary bad language the only one who can actually pull it off is Rogen. The rest of the cast attempt to, but it just comes across as desperate attempts at jokes that turn out to be completely lacking in hilarity, when they should really be splitting your sides. There is still entertainment to be had though, with enough in the tank to keep you amused but it’s far from hilarious. The sci-fi in-joke involving Steven Speilberg and his creation of “E.T.” is cleverly dropped in, as well as a few nods to “Close Encounters…”, “Star Wars” and “Aliens”. With a story that has enough strength to provide an abundance of jokes, it’s a shame they never seem to come, leaving all the good gags to Rogen, who effortlessly steals the film from everyone.

Another reasonably decent effort from Pegg and Frost but I think had Edgar Wright been involved, he could have complimented their brand of humour rather than Mottola’s profane punchlines that don’t always work. Fun, but a bit disappointing.

Mark Walker

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