Inside the 'Paul' Premiere

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Universal and Working Title’s Monday night unveiling of Paul at Hollywood’s Grauman’s Chinese Theatre was the latest salvo in the invasion of the sci-fi flicks.

But this flick is decidedly different than the rip-roaring destruction embodied by Battle: Los Angeles.

“This movie may stand out because it’s a comedy and it’s the one alien movie that I’m aware of in which the alien is a nice guy; he’s not coming to invade us or terrorize us,” said the movie’s director Greg Mottola at the Roosevelt Hotel swank after-party (I’d say poolside’ except that guests, such as Edgar Wright and Liev Schreiber, were hanging out ON TOP of the covered pool.)

But the movie, already a major hit in the U.K. and other countries, is also different as it may also be the first feature to incorporate San Diego’s Comic Con into its storyline and have two Comic Con attendees as its heroes.

The movie sees Simon Pegg and Nick Frost (of Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz fame) as two English comic and sci-fi nerds who visit the Con and then hit the road in an RV to visit famous alien encounter hotspots in the American Southwest. Along the way, they have a close encounter with a real, and disarmingly crude, E.T. (voiced by Seth Rogen) and find themselves chased by the FBI.

The trick of the movie will be to appeal to the fanboy crowd while also attracting mainstream America. Go too much fanboy, you’re playing in inside baseball territory. Swing too broadly, you risk losing the needed edge of fanboy approval and find yourself with a milquetoast movie.

Calling the balance “dangerous,” Mottola said “I expect some hardcore fanboys to have problems with it because it references movies that they think have been over-referenced, or leaves out their favorite movie like Silent Running. They are very discerning people.”

What may surprise audience-goers and raise eyebrows the most, however, is the none-too-subtle wading, nay, cannonballing, into the debate of creationism vs. Darwinism, which provides some of the movie’s biggest laughs.

Check out Kristen Wiig at the Paul premiere from the SXSW Festival below.