It started out pretty good. I like Nick Frost and Simon Pegg going around, doing stuff. Even though it was set in America, so you figure it will not be clever as American comedies have to beat you over the head in order to make you laugh, I figured that with these two guys here playing British "nerds", it wouldn't be so bad.
Then we're introduced to Paul. Okay, Seth Rogen is voicing Paul so you know the character isn't going to be a saint. Paul is a foul-mouthed, pot-smoking raunchy little alien, but that's to be expected considering who they chose to do the voice. Okay? Then we bring Kristin Wiig (who is currently on SNL) onboard. Kristin plays a goody-two shoes who is jolted out of her religious beliefs by the existence of Paul. What follows is she throws over her beliefs and decides to "live". She starts swearing all the time, smokes up, talks about having sex all the time...and this is supposed to be funny.
Let me make this very clear. I am particular about what I find funny. If someone is doing something ridiculous or weird or the situation makes them look like something they're not (i.e. situational comedy), I like that. I don't like being stupid and that's supposed to be funny. I don't like The Hangover, 40 Year Old Virgin, Knocked Up, American Pie, any of those movies. I don't like people swearing for the sake of swearing or getting loaded or being graphic about sex and that's just supposed to be funny on its own. I like clever. We don't get clever anymore it seems, unless it's British comedy. This movie isn't clever. I thought it might be, but it isn't.
Then they pick up Blythe Danner and they make her swear and mention weed and all that. Apparently, these are the only two punchlines they can think of in this movie. Yes, it's funny that an older lady drops the F-bomb and bemoans her weed being destroyed in a blast. That's funny. No, it's stupid. That in itself isn't funny. If they set it up better, if they made it more interesting, I could see it working. They don't, though. There's no artistry in the setup anymore, it's just here, someone's acting against societal norms, laugh. Problem is, I know a lot of people who behave that way, now. The novelty has worn off.
I did like Jason Bateman though, and I liked his work with the two junior officers below him. It was okay and a nice break from Kristin Wiig and Paul. Honestly, if you're going to make a movie about a little alien, make him endearing or something. Maybe Earth corrupted him or whatever, but Paul is just whatever to me. Whether he succeeds in his mission or not is of little consequence to me. Maybe that's the biggest criticism of all.
Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars.