Geek heroes’ alien adventure under-achieves…

Paul review

It’s a bittersweet sensation when mates graduate to pastures new: you want them to succeed without leaving you behind.

While Simon Pegg and Nick Frost’s previous efforts homaged Hollywood genre flicks, this Greg Mottola-directed UFO comedy sees them swallowed up by Stateside preoccupations, from Spielberg (whose films inform the plot) to Saturday Night Live (whose cast provide the collateral); malts (with sparklers) to schmaltz (“Sometimes you just gotta roll the dice!”).

In the middle of a Comic-Con road trip, our heroes pick up stranded alien Paul (Seth Rogen, doing his stoner-y schtick), and before you can say Rat Race, they’re being chased by legions of unamusing FEDs, rednecks and Christian fundamentalists.

Though there are plenty of good lines, you get the sense this whirlwind of cameos, in-jokes and clunky music cues conceals a hollow core.

Whereas Shaun Of The Dead and Hot Fuzz had heart to spare, Paul is purely a joke-delivery system, most flying low compared to the films they riff on.

Never less than entertaining, but never more than diverting, it can’t compare to its predecessors because they weren’t really about zombies, cops, or close encounters. They were about friendship.

Extras, unavailable at press, include an extended feature, bloopers, production sundries and an audio commentary with Mottola, Pegg and Frost.

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