Simon Pegg's latest movie lacks the zing that Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz delivered.

L to R: Blythe Danner as Tara Walton, Simon Pegg as Graeme Willy, Nick Frost as Clive Gollings and Kristen Wiig as Ruth Buggs in Paul.
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Director: Greg Mottola
Starring: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Kristen Wiig, Jason Bateman

Fans of Pegg's previous affectionate genre-spoofs Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz may find this amiable alien road- movie comedy lacking in zing. Pegg and his regular screen partner Frost play bumbling British tourists who stumble across a runaway extra- terrestrial while touring UFO country in America's southwestern states. Voiced by Seth Rogen, this digitally generated space invader is fleeing sinister government agents and trying to get home. He is clearly intended to be cute and charismatic, but mostly irritates. As with all of Pegg's self-scripted work, the dialogue of Paul is packed with audience-nudging film-nerd references. Some are blatant, notably ET, Close Encounters and the Alien series. Others, such as Easy Rider, more subtle. The starry surprise cameos are also funny, if a little obvious. Even Steven Spielberg makes a brief, sporting vocal appearance. All the same, Pegg is clearly a little lost without the visual swagger and fast-moving wit of his regular director and co-writer, Edgar Wright. Mottola seems to favour a more hands-off approach, allowing the script's more clichéd minor characters and sloppy slapstick jokes to pass unchallenged. Paul is sporadically amusing, but simply not fresh or inventive enough to match superior sci-fi comedy spoofs such as Men In Black or Galaxy Quest.

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