I’m a big fan of Nick Frost and Simon Pegg. Shaun of the Dead is a classic in both the comedy and zombie genres. When they’ve worked together, they’ve been great. When they work apart, they’re also great. Simon Pegg may not have been the first person that came to mind to play Star Trek’s Scotty, but he took the role and made it his on.
I’ve also become a big fan of Seth Rogen, which was kind of a surprise. I had written him off as just another comedian playing slacker/stoner characters. I don’t remember what I saw him in first, either Fanboys or Pineapple Express, but which ever it was prompted me to watch some of his other movies and I changed my mind. He may well be a one or two trick pony, but he’s good at what he does and he works well either as the star or as part of an ensemble cast. (I haven’t seen Green Hornet, but I do know everyone makes mistakes.)
So, naturally, Pegg, Frost and Rogen together in a movie about a couple of British sci-fi fans in American who team up with a fugitive alien should be comedic gold.
And it is, sort of.
Don’t get me wrong. I enjoyed Paul. The whole cast was great and most of it was very funny or at least very amusingly clever. It’s a good mix of dry British wit and good ole American humor about bodily functions. Pegg and Frost definitely fit the role of classic comedy team like Abbot and Costello or Farley and Spade. Rogen is funny, but might have been funnier dressed in an unconvincing alien costume rather than the voice of a CGI alien. There was also a great supporting cast including Jason Bateman as the mysterious government agent chasing Paul and Bill Hader as one of the bumbling agents drafted into assisting him. There are also some fairly cool cameos which I won’t mention but are fairly common knowledge.
The story was good, if a bit predictable. The cleverness comes not from where they take the plot, but what they do with it. And that’s where Paul hits its highs and lows. It’s British comedy meets American comedy. Mostly it works, sometimes it doesn’t. I really can’t give good examples without giving something away, so just trust me.
Overall, I say Paul is definitely worth seeing. Like I said, Pegg and Frost are always great together, but if you’re expecting another Shaun of the Dead or Hot Fuzz, maybe back off those expectations just a tad.