Published: 10 February, 2011
Directed by Greg Mottola
Rating: 3 Out Of 5 Stars
SIMON Pegg has carved himself out a job playing the same person – a numpty of a man-child who finds himself thrust into an extraordinary situation.
Think Shaun of the Dead – nerd chased around Crouch End by flesh-eating monsters. In Run, Fat Boy, Run, he was the same again, a Nick Hornby-esque male who never knew how good he had it till he lost it.
He and his co-star Nick Frost, who also plays the same character time and again alongside Pegg, have found plenty of takers for their deadpan comedies, and if you’ve enjoyed their previous outings, there is nothing stopping you wringing a chuckle or two out of this fare.
This typecast attitude is the same scenario we find with the third leading man of this acceptably simple tale: Seth Rogan. The American comedian is the uncouth stoner dude in each film he makes, and while in Paul he is the voice of the alien and not physically on our screens (he voices a little green man), his avatar is basically a typical Seth-style character. Rude, beer-swilling, dope-smoking, and pretty funny, Paul may not be of this planet but he seems to be steeped in American. He’s been kept under lock and key since crash landing by the Authorities 60 years ago and during that time has become a pop culture junkie.
We meet Graeme (Pegg) and Clive (Frost), two sci-fi fan mates who are on a road trip of a lifetime around Alien sights in the vastness of the American midwest. It means they are going to such places as Roswell.
And it is while they are driving their giant camper van along deserted roads with vast skies above that a car veers off the road and bursts into flames. They pull over to investigate – and discover it’s driver is a runaway alien fleeing Men In Black-style government agents.
The little green fella jumps aboard and the pair try to help him reach a spot where his ET chums are planning to zoom down and scoop him up. As they zip along highways they accidentally kidnap the daughter of an evangelical, gun-toting Christian who then gives chase and have to avoid poor attempts by the powers that be to intercept them.
Scrapes and spills abound. The comic potential of bottoms is very much exhausted.
It is a fairly enjoyable tale, and, if you like Pegg, you’ll like this – not quite as witty as Spaced, but it is for a transatlantic crowd so it’s watered down.