The nerdy homage to popular culture continues in Paul, the third film from Simon Pegg and Nick Frost – the creators behind Hot Fuzz and Shaun of the Dead.
The “Paul” of the title is a coarse but ultimately loveable alien voiced by Seth Rogan (frankly who else). Pegg and Frost play two English science fiction nerds who stumble across the stranded alien whilst on a road trip across the States.
Nods to previous, beloved films in the science fiction genre are prevalent; we get cameos from the likes of Sigourney Weaver and Steven Spielberg as well and some less-than-subtle dialogue. As ever Pegg and Frost make an entertaining double act. Seth Rogen is less annoying than usual and succeeds in making his character rather likable.
However the film is a step down from both Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. The distinctly English, small scale charm of those films is this time adapted to satisfy the American market. Instead of the quiet English villages we get the vast American landscape. The humour is diluted to encompass a very different American life-style. Subsequently the inevitable “clash of cultures” routine occasionally emerges with the duo encountering red-necks or naive creationists. Similarly crude references to drugs and cursing often take the place of genuine wit.
Both science fiction fans and fans of the Frost/Pegg duo should be satisfied, however people expecting a repeat of Shaun of the Dead may be slightly disappointed.