© 2011 Tom Whalen

I'll just go ahead and say it right off the bat. This isn't the best thing you've seen Simon Pegg and Nick Frost in together but damn is it funny.The absence of past collaborator, Edgar Wright, is definitely noticed here, but does it make for a bad film? Not at all. Greg Mottola, of Superbad and Undeclared fame steps behind the camera this time. This film is, for those concerned, a comedy that will definitely please the more geek-centric film goer but could very leave those less inclined towards nerdery feeling a bit left out. 

The film centers around the adventure of the two lovable nerds Clive Gollings (Nick Frost) and Graeme Willy (Simon Pegg) as they make their exodus from the mecca of Comic-Con in San Diego to all the various hot spots of reported UFO activity throughout the southwest United States. Things get rather interesting once they meet Paul, an escaped extra terrestial from Area 51, who happens to be a terrible driver and, thus, ends up inserting himself into their lives. The duo are charged with the task of helping Paul get home and, of course, the fun really begins along the way.

The roadtrip movie has been done to death. Alien encounter films have been done to death as well. This movie is both of those, but it is also well written overall despite some of the characters being a little one-dimensional. Pegg and Frost's scripting here is great, and the references sometimes fly out at you at breakneck speed. The referential jokes aside Pegg and Frost both deliver here as they always do, but perhaps more of a surprise to me was Kristen Wiig. She managed to bring some real depth to the rather stereotypical bible-thumping Creationist character that Graeme and Clive encounter along the way. Let's just say that if this movie had been, say, PG-13, it would been nowhere near as funny as it was.

The film hinges on the alien, though, right? What about the green fellow that made you chuckle in the trailer? Well, this alien, for better or worse, is Seth Rogen. I wish he had been a little less familiar, to be honest, but I couldn't complain too much because his voice work was great. The CGI work here is solid and is a great complement to Rogen's voice acting.

Let's be real honest here. This movie will probably not be as funny to a viewer that isn't quite as steeped in science fiction as people like Pegg and Frost are. Some of the film's more laugh worthy moments do come from these referential jokes, but a lot of the true humor comes from a great script and three strong performances by Frost, Pegg and Rogen. There is a lot to like in this movie, but I feel that some of the luster is definitely lost if you're not already in on the subcultural thread that runs through the entire movie. 

Rating: 8/10 

AuthorThe Scrivener