“Paul” is another alien movie that feels like ET just phoned it in from home. Simon Pegg and Nick Frost (Hot Fuzz) play Graeme and Clive, two British comic book geeks who decide to go on a tour of America’s famous alien tourist spots (think area 51). They come face to face with the real thing when they meet Paul (voiced by Seth Rogen), a little green alien who escaped from a government lab and now must trust Graeme and Clive with getting him to a safe spot for a space ship pick-up.
Along the way they are hunted by the usual stone-faced government agents (Jason Bateman, Bill Hader, Joe La Truglio) working for a shadier governmental figure (Sigourney Weaver). Every once in a while Pegg and Frost’s script nails a really good joke (a clever anal probe line, Paul being a Hollywood consultant) but for the most part, “Paul” is a tiresome string of gags centering around urine, bible/gun-toting southerners, an ongoing gay gag between Graeme and Clive that didn’t even start off funny, and other anal probe gag attempts that never get off the ground.
Kristen Wiig (SNL) also shows up as a religious woman, and love interest for Graeme, who assumes that Paul’s existence disproves God’s and so decides to sin a little. If you find random cursing funny…well then I guess you’re not asking for much and you’ll love her. “Paul” is also loaded with movie in-jokes, none that are funny and some that are so obscure (“Capturing the Friedmans”, “Lorenzo’s Oil”) that you wonder if anyone in the audience will even realize they’re jokes. Rogen’s easy-going frat boy charm is a nice fit for Paul’s “little green guy” simplicity but the rest of the movie doesn’t have nearly the same presence.