[pullquote cite=”” type=”left, right”][amazon text=Amazon&template=carousel&chan=That Film Guy&asin=B00588O9GK][/pullquote] Simon Pegg and Nick Frost are now as synonymous with each other as Jay and Silent Bob, Abbot and Costello or Feliz and Oscar. They are best friends and started their careers together on the critically-acclaimed Spaced TV series. They later went on to star together in Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. Paul is their first collaboratively written film and it is also the first not to be directed by Edgar Wright, who was too busy working on Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, so it is Greg Mottola (Superbad) who takes the reins of this wacky road trip comedy, released Valentine’s day 2011.
Graeme (Pegg) and Clive (Frost) are best friends who embark upon a road trip across the USA after attending their very first Comic-Con convention. Travelling between famous UFO hot-spots they encounter a foul-mouthed alien called Paul (Seth Rogen) who implores them to help him get home. Along the way they meet/kidnap Ruth (Kristen Wigg) a creationist trailer park manager and have to outrun mysterious Agent Zoil (Jason Bateman).
Paul is both funny and moving as has become the MO of Pegg and Frost partnerships, and both men are convincing and engaging as the loveable geeks. Paul himself has the best lines, as expected, and delivers them with aplomb and superb comedy timing. The rest of the laughs are handled with consummate skill by Ruth, Zoil and Agents Haggard (Bill Hader) and O’Reilly (Joe Lo Truglio). There are constant references to pop culture, including a fantastic cameo from one of the icons of science fiction. The pacing is fluid and rarely drags and there’s enough comedy to keep the film going.
It is a shame then that Paul never quite reaches the comedic heights of Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. Whilst it is a perfectly adequate comedy, it lacks the edge of these previous films and it feels like it’s been doctored heavily to give it a broader appeal and has suffered because of it. The films highlights come with the discussion of Creationism vs. Darwinism, but they appear to have been cut-short for fear of alienating the American audiences, which is a real shame.