Director: Greg Mottola
Screenplay: Simon Pegg and Nick Frost
Starring: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Seth Rogen, Jason Bateman, Kristen Wiig, Bill Hader, Jane Lynch, Sigourney Weaver, Blythe Danner
Running Time: 104 minutes
Genre: Comedy, science-fiction
Summary: Two British science-fiction fans, aspiring artist Graeme Willy (Pegg) and unsuccessful author Clive Gollings (Frost), visit the San Diego Comic-Con and go on a road trip to visit famous UFO crash sites. On their way they encounter foul-mouthed alien, Paul (voiced by Rogen), who crash-landed on Earth in 1947 and is currently on the run from the US Government. Graeme and Clive decide to help Paul, and so they set off across the US, along with devoutly religious Ruth (Wiig), who they are forced to take with them when she sees Paul. However, they are pursued by a trio of "Men in Black" type Government agents, headed by Agent Lorenzo Zoyle (Bateman), and controlled by the mysterious 'Big Guy' (Weaver). As well as Ruth's angry, shotgun-toting father (John Carroll Lynch).
Opinions: Actors and writers Simon Pegg and Nick Frost have previously worked together on the television series Spaced (1999-2001) and on the films Shaun of the Dead (2004) and Hot Fuzz (2007). This film has a slightly different flavour to their previous collaborations due to them working without their regular collaborator, writer and director Edgar Wright. It is slightly more commercial and sweet-natured then their previous work. Very few writers/actors have such a strong connection with their audience as Pegg and Frost. They portray the "nerd" world with genuine affection, because they are part of that world themselves. Fans of science-fiction movies and comics will love the multiple references to movies, TV shows, books and comics, in particular Steven Spielberg movies such as E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982) and Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977).
The film is aimed squarely at the kind of audience who know about Comic-Con, and are avid viewers of science-fiction movies and TV shows, but there is enough genuinely funny knockabout humour to appeal to non-fans. The humour in the film is very broad and bad-taste, but it's also leavened with a lot of sweetness. The friendship between Nick Frost and Simon Pegg provides a lot of the film's charm, Seth Rogen has a lot of the film's best lines as the wise-cracking alien, and Kristen Wiig is engaging as the repressed fundamentalist who finds herself liberated through her travels with Paul and co.
The film is a must-see for science-fiction fans, but there is also enough to appeal to general comedy fans as well. For an evening's entertainment it is definitely recommended.
Nick Frost and Simon Pegg have a close encounter in Paul