Simon Pegg, Nick Frost in new “Paul” trailer

By Sean O’Connell In August, we witnessed an Edgar Wright film that didn’t prominently feature Simon Pegg and Nick Frost (for examples of the opposite formula, pop in “Shaun of the Dead” or “Hot Fuzz” and prepare to laugh). The film was “Scott Pilgrim,” and while Wright breathed radiance into his graphic novel adaptation, audiences weren’t interested. At all.

Next we’re going to see Pegg and Frost collaborate on a comedy that’s not helmed by Wright, and I have to wonder how they’ll fare. Is there a chemistry to this trio that shouldn’t be disrupted? Check out the teaser clip for “Paul” and decide for yourself.

Pegg Tweeted a link to this clip this morning. In it, we meet Graeme (Pegg) and Clive (Frost), two geeks trying to capture the touristy side of Area 51. Their plans change, however, when they encounter an actual alien (voiced by Seth Rogen) who desperately needs their help. The clip gives is a good looks at the alien – named Paul – as well as the ways the film will look to mine laughs out of an “E.T.” scenario.

Why might it work? Because “Adventureland” director Greg Mottola is helming the production based on Pegg and Frost’s script. Because Universal trusted “Paul” enough to bring it to Comic Con and tease it for thousands of savvy fans. (Side note: Warner Bros. did the same for “Jonah Hex,” so this doesn’t always indicate a slam dunk.) And finally, it might work because Pegg, Frost and Mottola have recruited a killer supporting cast that includes Sigourney Weaver, Jason Bateman, Kristen Wiig, Jeffrey Tambor, Bill Hader, David Koechner and Jane Lynch. Virtually everyone in the cast knows how to be funny. We can only pray it translates to the screen.

“Paul” will be in theaters on March 18, 2011. Until then, what do you think of “Paul?”

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