Simon Pegg and Nick Frost know their audience. The British duo who, along with Edgar Wright, made “Shaun of the Dead” part of the neo-zombie vernacular, opens its latest collaboration, “Paul,” at the holy grail of all things obsessive: Comic-Con. One hundred minutes, several character-actor cameos and countless cult references later, fans of Pegg and Frost will walk away from “Paul” feeling not only entertained, but respected.
Sci-fi fanatics and aspiring authors Graeme (Pegg) and Clive (Frost) have traveled across the pond on a mission: to experience Comic-Con and then caravan through sites of UFO sightings. As the best-laid plans tend to do, their scheme goes awry when foul-mouthed shorts-sporting alien Paul (voiced by Seth Rogen) arrives on the scene, on the run from The Big Guy (Sigourney Weaver) and agents both competent (Jason Bateman) and inept (Bill Hader and Joe Lo Truglio).
Though a little slow in the third act, “Paul” contains the snark crossed with anything-can-happen whimsy we’ve come to expect from Pegg and Frost. Intelligent riffs and fart jokes are equally represented. The supporting cast are clearly enjoying themselves but not at the expense of the audience, who is included in the fun. Not to mention the pop culture references that alone could fill a whole other film. There’s something for everybody: plentiful references to comic books, cult documentaries and obscure medical dramas of years past. Pegg and Frost know what their viewers appreciate in a script, and in “Paul,” they definitely deliver.
DVD contains both theatrical and unrated versions.
Film: 4.5 Yaps
Extras: 4 Yaps