Paul was completely lost on me. Although, I’m not sure what I was expecting. I’m one of a very, very small majority that didn’t think much of Hot Fuzz, or Shaun of the Dead, and I’d sooner put David Mitchell and Robert Webb up as British comedy royalty than Nick Frost or Simon Pegg. In fact, all I kept thinking through the ridiculously protracted 104-minute runtime is how lucky I was Kristen Wiig was making this watchable at all. Not even Jane Lynch managed to do much here.
I admit, I haven’t seen the majority of the films Paul gave a nod to. In fact, besides Sigourney Weaver’s presence alluding to Alien, I’m pretty sure the only hommage I got were a few to Close Encounters of the Third Kind and E.T. which I recognize more as cultural references rather than to specific parts of the original films. I was clearly not the target audience. But the jokes I did catch seemed to be a bit tired. Get this, the two main characters, best friends and uber-geeks, keep getting mistaken as gay. Over and over! I never get tired of friendly pokes at fundamentalism, but come on, another movie with a shot of a loaded gun next to a Bible? Greg Mottola is a good director, and should have known better than these cheap jokes. And most distracting of all, is Seth Rogan. Rogan can be funny. But he’s overexposed. He has five movies coming out in 2011 alone, making that nearly twenty feature films since the beginning of 2008. His voice is distracting, and never quite lets you forget that Paul is animated.
Altogether, I felt the film was lacking overall, and I can’t find myself willing to recommend Paul to anyone that’s not not an ardent fan of either sci-fi or the Pegg/Frost team. It seems for most others, it will be underwhelming.