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Title alien Paul hits the road in this new Pegg/Frost comedy.

Friday Flick: Paul

I loved "Shaun of the Dead" but couldn't get into "Hot Fuzz," so I have mixed expectations about the newest Simon Pegg/Nick Frost comedy, "Paul." What made "Shaun of the Dead" so much funnier for me was the absence of overly forced character archetypes, something that "Hot Fuzz," with its uptight cop/bumbling sidekick duo, relied on.

"Paul" takes Pegg and Frost and casts them both as stereotypical sci-fi nerds. There's a plus here in not having to deal with the "clashing personality" comedy set-ups, but the opportunity to cash in on geek jokes is more than available. It's playing to kind of a niche audience, but the foundation for a decent comedy is there based on their previous movie successes and the addition of the more recognizable genre regular Seth Rogen. If a nerdy premise is the only card they have to play, though, the schtick will get old really fast.

What will make or break this movie: Seth Rogen as Paul. He's good at playing a wise ass, but can he pull it off when he's only indirectly on screen? What gives his performance more credibility is the fact that he enlisted help from experienced CGI actor Andy Serkis, who did motion capture work as part of his role as Gollum in "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy. It's not a guaranteed save, but hopefully Serkis was able to impart some insider wisdom to help Rogen better personalize his CG alien with the comedic nuances he's developed in live action work.

Here's the overview: For the past 60 years, an alien named Paul has been hanging out at a top-secret military base. For reasons unknown, the space-traveling smart ass decides to escape the compound and hop on the first vehicle out of town -- a rented RV containing Earthlings Graeme Willy and Clive Gollings. Chased by federal agents and the fanatical father of a young woman that they accidentally kidnap, Graeme and Clive hatch a fumbling escape plan to return Paul to his mother ship. And, as two nerds struggle to help, one little green man might just take his fellow outcasts from misfits to intergalactic heroes.


Theaters and showtimes for Paul


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