For the last time now!: To all film studios and makers, please, I beg of you do not put your entire film in the trailer! Or every funny part! I know you have to compete hard for the declining amount of movie goers in this day and age of Netflix, blu-ray and on demand films, but by showing us your entire film or its most pertinent parts in the trailers ruins the film going experience for those of us who still make the effort to leave our houses to see films on the big screen.
I was quite looking forward to seeing Greg Mottola’s (Adventureland, Superbad) film because I really liked Superbad and it stars Kristen Wiig (who is the best thing about SNL) and Simon Pegg (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz). Plus there was a wisecracking, smoking, huge blue eyed little green alien (voiced by Seth Rogan) in the film. Three people capable of great comedic moments. Plus an alien. Now, maybe I put too much undo pressure on the film, but it did for the most part disappoint me.
Simon Pegg and Nick Frost (Pirate Radio, Grindhouse) are back together again this time as Graeme and Clive, two British sci-fi nuts who are on a vacation in San Diego to attend geek heaven, also known as Comic-Con. After reveling in their time at Comic-Con, where they meet their literary hero, Adam Shadowchild (Jeffrey Tambor), the two men have then planned an RV voyage to all the UFO/alien sightings/crashes sites on the West Coast.
After taking photos at the famous black/white mailbox in Area 51 they stop at a diner that is filled with alien paraphernalia and serves ET milkshakes complete with sparklers. While Clive is in the bathroom, Graeme innocently looks at two men (Jesse Plemons and David Koechner) and somehow pisses them off. Fleeing from the two menacing looking rednecks who are looking for some heads to knock together, Clive accidentally smashes the RV into their black pickup. Moments later when a pair of headlights is barreling down the highway towards them they panic thinking it is their two friends.
Breathing a sigh of relief that is short-lived the two realize it is not a truck but a car and it continues past them. Suddenly the car starts swerving and rolling then finally exploding into a ball of flame. Clive and Graeme get out of the RV to investigate when they are shocked, Clive more so than Graeme as he passes out, to discover a green alien with very large blue eyes sitting there smoking a cigarette.
After convincing Graeme that he is not going to harm the, the alien named Paul and Graeme drag the unconscious Clive to the RV then Paul convinces Graeme that he has to drive him to Wyoming to get him away from the people he is running from. Graeme agrees and the two men and the alien are off on an adventure that none of them are likely to forget.
There are gags and jokes aplenty in this one. Though for the most part they fell pretty flat for me. Several did cause me to chuckle, but most of the jokes are predictable and not very sharp. And the jokes I disliked the most (three breasted cartoon woman and people thinking Clive and Graeme are gay) came up time and time again. Plus I don’t know if making fun of geeks is actually funny anymore. Sci fi geeks have become rather cool, no? The whole thing had a kind of stale quality about it. Plus they did not use their strengths very well. Kristen Wiig is totally underused in the film with her just spewing out profanity after profanity (as an ultra religious woman who has her entire belief system turned upside down by this alien) and not really being allowed to use her ample comedic talents.
The only person who came off well in the film is the underappreciated Jason Bateman. He is great at comedy and does a wonderful job as the government agent hunting down Paul. A real pleasure to watch his performances in whatever film he is in. He has the ability to be good even in a weaker film.
There are several touching or sweet scenes in the film though they don’t do quite enough to save the film. Finally, the running time of the film is 104 minutes and plenty of it could have been cut as it dragged on in parts.