The Man Who Fell to Earth.
I don't know quite what it is but something keeps me suspicious of Simon Pegg and his accompanying machine. Maybe its that when you take Pegg out of the auteur type role, where he produces, writes and stars, his turnout is pretty much shit without exception, particularly when he's the lead. How To Lose Friends And Alienate People anyone? how about Run Fat Boy Run. Or Burke and Hare. You really could go on. Even within his comfort zone there's the strong sense of diminishing returns. Hot Fuzz wasn't quite as good as Shaun Of the Dead and Paul isn't quite as good as Hot Fuzz. It feels the most homogenized these guys have been, bottom to top, and while there's still some fun to be had here. It somehow feels much more muted and less vibrant in the past.
I think this is most notably applicable to the performances of Pegg and Frost, both seeming pale imitations of what they've been before and both seeming quite content to allow Seth Rogen's motion captured Alien to steal the show and not even put up a fight. Perhaps the problem is that they are two super broad nerd archetypes, telling way too many gay, fat and Brit jokes and just being heroes for heroes sake. Some of the supporting cast fare better, Rogen is a delight, injecting what otherwise a fairly lifeless movie with some welcome energy. Kristen Wiig is semi-amusing as a tacked on love interest. And while I found it awesome to see Jason Bateman play a quiet badass, part of me suspects that may have been because of my affectation toward Arrested Development, but hey, it was kind of awesome. I think my main gripe, is how contrived everything everything feels, Pegg and Frost's formula seems aged, and perhaps without Edgar Wright's energy behind the camera, something is missing.
Paul is serviceable enough entertainment, and there's the odd laugh to be found. But the perhaps the honeymoon is over for this British film-making team, and of Frost, Pegg and Wright. It's teling that the most talented of the three has moved on different things. Pegg meanwhile, will play Scotty in Star Trek a couple of times over, Frost will recede back onto British TV and director Greg Mottola, who is certainly a filmmaker I like, looks throughly out of place. An attempt to do something different that ended up doing the same old thing for these guys only not as well.