Paul is a comedy, or, at least, that’s what it says on the tin. The problem is, it’s not as funny as it should have been, and more importantly, it’s not as funny as it thinks it is. And that’s always worse.
Two guys – Simon Pegg and Nick Frost; who did a fantastic job in Hot Fuzz – are on a nerdy American road trip to visit Area 51 when they meet a bona fide alien (the titular Paul, voiced no more than adequately by Seth Rogen) somewhere in the Nevada Desert.
Cue hi-jinks and hilarity. Right? Well, no. Not really.
The humour never gets much beyond kindergarten level fish-out-of-water gags, and a romantic subplot which is about as contrived as it is awkward; and the only genuine surprise is the slight twist at the end, but by then I didn’t really care enough to wonder whether I had missed the signposts and the foreshadowing, or if the movie had not provided them in the first place.
Paul (the character) isn’t cute, isn’t wacky, and he doesn’t have any great emotional backstory either, so I’m unsure why we should care about him. Come on guys – if you’re not going to make me laugh, you have to give me something to go with.
I wanted to like it, but when you find yourself laughing because you feel you have to, rather than because it really is funny… well, that’s when you know the writers forgot the punchline.