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Paul

[Rating: 1/5]

“Paul” is a one joke flick from the creators of “Shaun of the Dead” and “Hot Fuzz.”  Here’s the joke: the alien who was captured at Roswell way back is actually a pot-smoking slacker with Seth Rogen’s voice.  Frankly, that’s not a terrible premise, but this film is so lazy that it basically wastes it.   The alien travels around in an RV with Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, where he basically dispels every stereotype they have about aliens and UFOs through tired dialogue.  Then he gets on his ship and leaves.

Jason Bateman is the MIB chasing them, and he isn’t interesting.  Kristen Wiig is the fundamentalist christian they accidentally kidnap along the way, and she’s only interesting because she’s so completely unlike any fundamentalist christian I’ve ever met. Apparently American religion is fascinating to British comedians; Ricky Gervais has been on a “thank God I’m an atheist” kick for a while, and his last movie was about how religion is nothing more than a comforting lie.  These guys think religious nuts are easy comedic targets who don’t really need to be observed in order to be lampooned; they’re wrong.  All good comedy is well-observed, and Wiig’s character is nothing more than a tin-eared stereotype.  I’m not saying religious nuts aren’t funny, I’m saying you might want to spend some time with them in order to see how they’re funny, and these guys clearly haven’t.  If Larry the Cable Guy were to write jokes about Muslims (I don’t know; maybe he has) and then show his movie in Tehran, he might get as many laughs as this does.

This movie is lazy.  Lazy in how it explores its UFO alien premise, and lazy in its comedic stereotypes.  It’s a long ways away from the sharp comedy of “Shaun of the Dead.”   It was a big disappointment.

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