By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood March 17, 2011 at 8:18AM
Here's what you need to know about Paul (March 18): It's a Working Title movie, which means that it's smart, tailored to intelligent audiences, and has a British sensibility. Co-writers Simon Pegg and Nick Frost (Shaun of the Dead) dreamed up this light fan boy comedy, went on an American research road trip, and lacking their director of choice, Edgar Wright, they turned to Greg Mottola (Superbad and Adventureland), who has been earning mainstream cred as a director of sharp and funny comedies that do not suck.
The genial comedy, which also stars Kristin Wiig and the voice of Seth Rogen as a remarkably earthy alien, played well at SXSW, without igniting huge fires under the film critics (it currently sits at 68% on the Tomatometer). In short, it's popcorn escapist entertainment, which Mottola and I discuss below, along with the difficulties of animating a major character in a live action movie and getting smart movies made in Hollywood. He also explains how Pegg's director on Tintin, Steven Spielberg, wound up with a cameo in the movie.
Moviefone finds Paul "funny and sweet fan boy pandering," while ThePlaylist loves the Paul alien: "he’s a wonderful creation. Double Negative‘s FX work is world-class, making Paul easily the equal of the best of the CGI creatures like Davy Jones and Gollum, and there isn’t a single moment in which he isn’t totally convincing. More importantly, however, he’s just kind of a delight to hang out with: profane, profound and big-hearted."
Here's my interview with Mottola:
Pegg and Frost on Moviefone's UNSCRIPTED: