Tuesday, March 29, 2011
The joke here is that Paul, who looks like the pop-culture, wobbly headed alien seen on bumper stickers galore, is actually a bit of a slacker/doofus (he’s voiced by Seth Brogan). He smokes dope, goofs on the boys, and generally gets the lot of them in trouble. A better title for this conceit might be Pineapple Express to the Stars.
The trio immediately find themselves on the lamb and desperately trying to escape the clutches of various men in black, angry hillbillies, and pissed off Christians while taking up with a myopic Christine Wiig playing a sheltered Christian whose eyes are literally opened by the wacked out alien and his brit side-kicks.
The jokes here are pretty entertaining (there’s a running bit about an alien drawing with three titties that tells you everything you need to know about nerd-boy mentality), even if the script is only half worked out. My movie partner and I pretty much improved the script with a ten-minute rewrite (instead of killing the dog at the beginning, kill the father, etc.) so it’s clear that the effort here goes into the sci-fi send-ups rather than underlying story, which follows the standard bromance trajectory as the two brit buddies learn to bond with their slacker/alien friend.
In the end, the film lacks some of the real brilliant coherence of Pegg and Frost’s earlier work. Shawn of the Dead was deadpan hilarity, and Hot Fuzz gave us deliciously wacked characters. Paul has neither the consistency of tone nor character development of those two movies. Nevertheless, with the sci-fi theme, they’ve found some new territory to mine here. They’ve created a truly weird screen presence in the Rogan-mannered alien, and they come up with some genuine guffaws. Most important than anything, we really need some good laughs these days, and the boys don’t disappoint.