If your idea of a hilarious comedy is one riddled with humor based on empty expletives and mockery of Christian fundamental beliefs, then Paul might just be the movie for you.
Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz British team Pegg Simon and Nick Frost gives us Paul, a story about a close encounter of the third kind. Graeme Willy (Pegg Simon) and Clive Gollings (Nick Frost) are two English Comic-Con sci-fi geeks who embark on a road trip to the US of A for a tour into the UFO heartland on board an RV. Their sci-fi fantasies are rewarded way beyond their expectations when not only do they get a snapshot of each other in Area 51, but they also accidentally meet an alien fugitive named Paul (the generic "little green man," with stringy limbs, a bulbous head, and a captivating pair of huge almond-shaped eyes), who joins the geek fanboys so they could help him escape from the men in black.
Joining the trio of their mad race to Paul's mother ship is dorky Ruth (Kristen Wiig), a one-eyed Baptist (her one eye symbolical of her singular perspective on life). After a brief debate on Creationism versus Evolution, her lifelong beliefs are ultimately shattered by Paul, yet her broken faith was instantly replaced by a sense of ultimate freedom to commit sins, particularly spitting out cuss words and fornicating, implying that Chistian faith in general is based alone on fear of God's punishment. She then goes on forming weird unnatural combinations of dirty words to make up for lost time, aiming to charm the audience, but is downright corny. Chasing after them are the MIB, led by Agent Zoil (Jason Bateman) and his two goofy underling agents (SNL’s Bill Hader and Joe Lo Truglio) who act like retards to give us slapstick comedy, Ruth's fanatic Bible-thunping gun-waving father, and a couple of rednecks.
Written by Frost and Pegg, and directed by Greg Mottola (Superbad and Adventureland), the film's premise of two geeks, outcasts all their life, and now in the middle of a wild adventure with an alien (voiced by Seth Rogen) who unexpectedly has a very American, very human behavior (reminds you of Roger of American Dad), has a lot of comedic potential. But the movie is painfully cliche-ish, with expletives-based humor as well as anal probe jokes repeated a hundred times that it's become tiring and embarrassing. It's filled with stereotypes: all Comic-Con fans look like losers, all Christians or Creationists are fundamentalist nut jobs-- and even Sigourney Weaver's cameo is a stereotype itself. The only unorthodox part of the the film is Paul the alien; the pair's expectations of what's an alien like is shattered because aliens are, in truth, English-speaking, rude-humored, weed-smoking, madras-wearing Hollywood consultants.
There are plenty of movie references for the pleasure of movie buffs, the CGI alien looks flawless and adorable, and the wide open skies of Nevada brings back warm memories of X-files and memorable quality stories of extraterrestrial biological entities, and there are a few good laughs. But in its entirety, the movie is a horrifying mix of bad comedy. The characters are underdeveloped, offers obscenity and slapstick over wit and substance, the jokes are old and cliche-ish, and it is subtly preachy of Darwinism. Paul is definitely not a result of "intelligent design."