As two British sci-fi nerds (Simon Pegg and Nick Frost) travel across America, they are joined by Alien Paul (Seth Rogen), whom they agree to help get home, which proves harder than initially thought with the government on their back.
Throughout we are offered a witty screenplay, which at no point threatens to be dominated by typical nerdy sci-fi, but rather mocks it - Paul mocks Klingon; and which has numerous neat references to other science-fiction films such as Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (1977), Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) and E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982), among others; as well as a lot of referencing to science-fiction fandom, with scenes taking place in science-fiction conventions and comic book stores, as well as offering us a stereotypical depiction of a sci-fi nerds yearning to meet sci-fi authors and their obsession with collecting merchandise. The film is also another in which Pegg and Frost prove what a strong comic double act they are, as the pair display a wonderful rapport and one of their typical friendships - banter, a little oneupmanship, some bickering, but at the end of the day are two friends who love each other and would do anything for each other, with this on screen relationship resulting in some references to previous Pegg-Frost comedies Spaced (1999-2001), Shaun of the Dead (2004) and Hot Fuzz (2007).
The film does, however, start to fall short of being a solid sci-fi comedy thanks to the screenplay in places. The film focuses too much on Paul's relationship with Graeme and Clive, which is always entertaining thanks to strong comic rapport, timing and delivery by Pegg, Frost and Rogen, as well as a strong voice performance by Rogen, but as a result the supporting cast generally get a major lack of screentime and development, with the character arc of Jason Bateman's Special Agent Zoil coming to a confusing head, which can only be understood if you think long and hard about previous dialogue; while Sigourney Weaver's main antagonist is heard but not seen until the final 10 minutes, and when she does finally appear her brief, and poorly written - bitchy and slightly goofy - just becomes a disappointment, after we build a picture in our heads of an almost Bond villain, as she is meant to be a genuinely scary woman.
Nevertheless, the film is entertaining and achieved what it set out to - mocking sci-fi with an entertaining screenplay. I will never approve of the way it depicts Christianity, with the only character Christian at the end of the film (John Carroll Lynch) being a shotgun weilding maniac, unwilling to accept things such as modern medicine, and this view, plus how Paul shows the creation of the world just seems a half-hearted attempt to promote Atheism - writers and stars Pegg and Frost both being openly Atheist - and as a Christian I really can't stand this negative portrayal of Christianity.
Stars: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Seth Rogen, Kristen Wiig, Jason Bateman, Bill Hader, Joe Lo Truglio, Sigourney Weaver, Blythe Danner, John Carroll Lynch, Jane Lynch, Mia Stallard, David Koechner, Jesse Plemons, Jeffrey Tambor.
National Movie Award: Comedy.
National Movie Award nominations: Performance of the Year (Simon Pegg), Performance of the Year (Nick Frost).