Were you one of those people who saw E.T. and thought, "Man, I really wish this had a few more 'balls' jokes?" Well then Paul one is for you. For the 99% of us that make up everyone else, this one sucks. Let's take a look at why, shall we?
First of all, there are some inherent problems with having a main character in a comedy be completely CG. The most heinous of these problems being that you can't have good comedic timing when the lines of your main character are spliced in later. Sure, you can have someone on set reading the lines, but in the end the actual lines won't line up exactly with the lines from on set. This creates a trouble for Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, and Seth Rogen, the three lead actors, because Pegg and Frosts' lines don't necessary match up with Rogen's, and Rogen's won't match up with Pegg and Frosts'.
But my previous statements have been assuming that the movie would have been funny were it not for a problem with timing. Frost and Pegg, also the screenwriters, seem to be content with recycling the same penis jokes a ludicrous amount of times. "Oh, but you are so off!" You say, "Some were 'penis' jokes, but others were 'junk' and 'balls' jokes! There is a difference!" I'm sorry, America. I seem to have forgotten the nuances of "junk" and "balls." I know there must have been some jokes without some synonym for genitals, but I honestly cannot remember any. If only Pegg and Frost had been zapped with the alien's collective conscious in real life, maybe they would have a few more worthwhile gags.
Which brings me to the collective conscious zapping, and, by extension, the plot. This might be one of the most formulaic movies I have seen in a long time. This was like a game of road movie Mad Libs. Act 1 follows the accepted formula that some "normal people" happen to find some "weird thing/person." Then, in Act 2, our "normal people" accept that "weird thing/person" is not so weird, and attempt to bring "weird thing/person" to "goal location" and shenanigans happen along the way. There are some doubts among main characters in Act 3, but a little "I'm with you all the way!" scene is all that's necessary to keep truckin' on.
As if this movie were not already so run-of-the-mill as to have no identity of its own, it feels that it needs to reference every single sci-fi movie of all time. (Except for maybe Plan 9 From Outer Space. I don't remember seeing that one in there.) What's worse is that most of these references are not even framed as jokes. This film represents the growing trend in comedy where a reference to another movie is shorthand for a gag or an homage. Just because you say something in Klingon doesn't mean its funny. This joke-deprived referencing goes so far that they run out of sci-fi movies to invoke, and it dares venture into Blues Brothers territory. No film is safe from having its most famous lines ruined by this movie. Not even Back to the Future comes out unscathed.
Paul gets a D. At least it's better than Frozen, if only by a little.
PS: Sigourney Weaver sucks in this movie.