Shaun of the Dead is one of my favorite movies. I thoroughly enjoyed the next Simon Pegg/Nick Frost satire Hot Fuzz. Needless to say, I had high hopes for Paul, their latest collaboration, a sci-fi spoof from the director of Superbad. Unfortunately, Paul is about as funny as a wisecracking alien. Which isn't very funny at all.
Paul is about two Comic-Con fanboys who go on their dream vacation: the Nevada desert, where aliens supposedly crashed 60 years ago. They get more than they bargained for when they come across an alien named Paul (voiced by Seth Rogen), who has escaped from government facilities to flee the planet. Along the way, they also meet a one-eyed Christian woman (Kristen Wiig) and a ruthless federal agent (Jason Bateman).
Paul is astounding because of just how well it manages to completely waste the comedic talent involved. As much as I wanted to like the movie, it is consistently unfunny from beginning to end.
Paul makes it clear that the man that made Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz so good is neither Pegg nor Frost. That title goes to Edgar Wright, who is not involved in the project (other than a script editor credit). Whereas those aforementioned movies were edgy and clever, Paul relies on cliché jokes, f-bombs and random references to much better sci-fi movies.
Despite its lack of humor, Paul is mildly entertaining, but it pains me to say that. There are many worse movies out there, but given the pedigree of the two leads it's an utter failure. Even its atheistic angle can't save Paul from what it is: a galactic disappointment.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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