I am an avid fan of the cinema, but in this economy I don't get the chance to go out and see movies as often as I'd like. But recently, in an attempt to further expand my cinematic horizons, I decided to resurrect my "Tuesday Double Feature" outings. So I, along with Zyconis went to the theaters to see both this film and, "Source Code", which I will review later.
So, away we go...
CAUTION! SPOILERS AHEAD!
Graeme Willy (Simon Pegg) & Clive Gollings (Nick Frost) star as two British Sci-Fi/Comic Book/UFO geeks vacationing in America (the film starts out with them attending the the geek mecca known as the San Diego's Comic Con where they meet their idol, famed Sci-Fi author Adam Shadowchild, played to mysophobic perfection by Jeffrey Tambor.) The pair then rent an RV and travel to various sites of extraterrestrial importance, including the famous the Black Mailbox outside Area 51. During this road trip they meet Paul, a foul-mouthed, happy-go-lucky alien who has been stranded on Earth for decades. Paul has found a way to return home, but needs a ride to the rendezvous point. So, Graeme & Willy agree to help Paul in achieving this goal and meet some very peculiar characters along the way.
Pegg & Frost (who also co-wrote the screenplay) have given us a film that only fellow Sci-Fi/Comic Book/UFO nerds could truly appreciate. The film is filled with NUMEROUS references to classic Sci-Fi movies of the past, most notably the Steven Spielberg film E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, with even the Maestro himself putting in a (voice-only) cameo.
While Pegg & Frost put in fine performances as transmutations of themselves, it is the supporting roles, and in particular Paul (voiced by Seth Rogen) who make this film so enjoyable, with Jason Bateman, SNL's Bill Hader, Joe Lo Truglio, Jane Lynch, Blythe Danner & Sigourney Weaver rounding out a hilarious supporting cast. Rogen's characterization of the happy-go-lucky alien fit in perfectly with the movie's light-hearted tone. Kristen Wiig (also of SNL fame) receives the film's Scene-Stealer Award for her hilarious performance as a devout Christian with an eye defect (Yes, you read that right.)
The film, directed by Greg Motolla (Superbad, Adventureland) and edited by Chris Dickens (Hot Fuzz, Slumdog Millionaire) is deftly-paced, with just the right blend of over-the-top action and comedy to keep things interesting. But however, a word to the wise: The film's "R" rating is well-deserved, given the sheer amount of profanity heard during the proceedings. So, I'd advise you leave the kids at home for this one.
I had fairly high expectations walking into the theater, given my enjoyment of the two previous Pegg & Frost movies, Shaun of the Dead & Hot Fuzz. This film met my expectations, but sadly did not exceed them. However, Pegg & Frost have given us a film that, while more accessible to mainstream audiences than their previous efforts, still contain the absurd, geeky qualities that made me enjoy their work in the first place. As a result, this film will keep me pleasantly occupied while I look forward to the third (and final) film in their "Blood & Ice Cream" Trilogy.
~Totoro (Creator/Executive Producer)