As big fans of Greg Mottola‘s “Superbad” and “Adventureland,” and even bigger fans of “Shaun of the Deadb” and “Hot Fuzz,” we’ve been excited about “Paul,” which gives Mottola a script written by and starring the stars of the latter two, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, for some time. So why is that the marketing materials are giving us pause?
We really dug the script when we read it. There’s a top-notch comedic supporting cast, including Seth Rogen, Kirsten Wiig, Jason Bateman, Bill Hader, Jane Lynch and Sigourney Weaver. There’s even a genuinely impressive FX creation in the shape of the central alien. But what there isn’t, so far, is a trailer that’s sealed the deal.
The first clip was fine, but a little action heavy, and, while the new trailer, which debuted over at Yahoo UK this morning, has some good moments (the sting at the end, is excellent, and we love Wiig’s line-reading of “He’s not dangerous, he’s kind of rude”), and we continue to be impressed both by the scope of the film, and by Double Negative‘s FX work, the whole thing looks a little… lowest-common-denominator.
With the film landing an R-rating, there’s plenty more crudity to come, but by throwing all the cock jokes, mooning scenes and slapstick together, without the sweetness that moderates it in the script, it feels a little more Wayans Brothers than Coen Brothers at present. And, as Film Drunk pointed out not so long ago, comedy nut shots in trailers rarely bode well for the finished product.
It’s worth bearing in mind that these are from the UK campaign for the film, which is able to rely on the appeal of stars Pegg and Frost more heavily. And comedy trailers always aim for the cheap seats, so we’re far from writing this off yet — we know that the script was terrific, and we can’t see someone as talented as Mottola botching it. But it’d be nice to see some advertising for the film that reflects our faith a little more. Perhaps we’ll get a little bit of a different tone from the U.S. trailer that will drop later today. “Paul” hits theaters in the UK on February 14th, with a US release following on March 18th.