This is a US-UK comedy alliance, with Seth Rogen as the voice of Paul, a CGI alien on the run from the FBI (the CGI and live-action combo works fine) who comes across like a Pixar character who smokes weed and tells jokes about genitals. Director Greg Mottola (‘Superbad’) replaces Edgar Wright, with co-writers Pegg and Frost acting out their usual male-hetero-romance dynamic as nerds who get more than they bargain for when they run into Paul on a tour of UFO hotspots.
The whole thing capers along, rolling in chase movie pastiches: by the end the trio has a Bible thumper, two rednecks and the FBI on their tail. There are plenty of jokes for Brits and liberal Americans, but transported to America some of the idiosyncratic fondness of the earlier films is lost. A couple of gags are weak, too: the pair are continually mistaken for a gay couple, snore. But there is enough sly humour and cracking one-liners (yes, some about anal probes) to make Paul a shrewdly timed alt-Valentine’s Day movie.