(US theatrical: 18 Mar 2011; UK theatrical: 18 Feb 2011)
Simon Pegg. Nick Frost. Together, they’re pretty much unstoppable. Between the cult TV fave Spaced, the multi-national cult smash Shaun of the Dead, and the cult American action movie parody Hot Fuzz, the two Brit buddies can do no wrong.
Let’s hope so. After watching the trailer for duo’s latest effort, the sci-fi comedy Paul, it’s taking all of the actors’ combined street cred to keep me interested in what looks like something out of the 80s (but not in the spoofy, aughts-ironic sort of way). Seth Rogen tags along (sort of) as the voice of the titular character, and hopefully helps director Greg Mottola steer the film towards the comedian’s last piece - Pineapple Express.
There are a few good chuckles to be had. There’s promise in the scenes where Paul imitates a Predator and when Pegg and Frost walk down the street holding hands with “a small cowboy”. In fact, there’s few groaning moments in the whole trailer. It’s simply the premise (and release date) that’s tough to get over. Two nerds randomly meet a stoned, talking alien. How does that get green lit?
I would argue the best glimmer of hope comes before any footage rolls at all, and the glorious “R” rating flashes on the screen. Even though the only hinted nudity comes on behalf of Paul the alien, it’s encouraging to see Universal Pictures allow what could have easily been a commercially-driven, PG-13 family picture go full boar and get an “R”. Here’s hoping Pegg and Frost capitalize one more time.