Most flicks featuring life from other worlds are lifeless.
Beings you never get to know, and that most of the time look like Alien’s alien zip here from this planet or that and turn the Earth to toast.
Shaun of the Dead creator and writer Simon Pegg and his friend, co-star and Paul co-writer Nick Frost and Superbad director Greg Mottola think it’s about time you met the enemy up close and personal.
In some parts you may find it a bit too close. The alien we all fear is Paul. He ended up on Earth because he’s a bad driver.
Hey, if it happens here, it can happen in space!
In federal government “care” for decades, Paul is the poster child for the classic triangle-faced alien with the saucer-shaped eyes. He also takes credit for giving filmmakers the ideas for blockbuster — hint, hint — “close encounter” movies.
Tired of captivity and ready to go home, Paul escapes.
That’s not exactly what the head of the secret department holding Paul wants to hear. A voice on the phone for most of the movie and a bit miffed, she sends Jason Bateman’s humorless secret agent to — gulp — resolve the problem.
It turns out Paul is no better driver on this planet than in space. He crashes his stolen car and enlists the help of two British Comic-Con and UFO buffs. They’re on a tour of this nation’s top saucer sites. The group tries to outrun Bateman’s character and his two unknowing, but ambitious goons.
Along the way they kidnap a partially blind young woman (Kristen Wiig).
An animated Paul — voiced by Seth Rogan — is mixed into live action. Paul has adapted to life on Earth. He smokes, swears, has lusty thoughts and cannot resist trouble. And though Paul is eager to escape, there are a number of side-trips that must be taken before he can leave.
Some are funny. Some aren’t.
Pegg, Frost and Mottola, and an obviously ad-libbing Rogan are in possession of 45 minutes of great material. They have a good time poking fun of comic book fans, alien encounters, alien encounter movies, ultra-fundamentalist Christianity and society. Those 45 minutes will have you laughing your butt off.
It’s the other 45 and the often needlessly offensive humor that make the close encounter with Paul a longer encounter than it need be.
Mr. Movie rating: 3 1/2 stars
Rated R for mature themes, language, brief nudity. It opens Friday, March 18 at the Carmike 12 and at the Fairchild Cinemas 12.
5 stars to 4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen
4 stars to 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it's your type of movie.
3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on video.
2 stars to 1 star: Don't bother.
0 stars: Speaks for itself.