Simon Pegg and Nick Frost are two comic geniuses. I don’t like to throw that term around lightly, but it's totally applicable in this case. Their films are definitely funny but are a step beyond just being hilarious. It’s fairly easy to make a decent comedy (relatively speaking, of course) but to make a great comedy and a great parody at the same time? That not only takes some serious comedic chops, but a genuine love of the subject they’re satirizing.
Take a look at Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, our subjects' most well-known works -- for the moment. Yes, I know about Edgar Wright, and there will be more on him later, but for now we’re focusing on the two stars. It is quite evident that Shaun and Fuzz are not only funny films, but also really good zombie and action films in their own right. They just happen to be really hilarious zombie and action films. They respect the genres and treat them properly; not with just a casual “hey, look at this! Remember this? It's funny!” (I’m looking at you Epic Date Scary Disaster Movie).
The crazy thing is that they have been honing their style for years; way before they burst on the scene with Shaun of the Dead. Spaced was their first great success and it graciously showed their talents. Although Frost did not take part in the writing (that went to Pegg, Wright and Jessica Stevenson), his comic sensibility was always present. Spaced was a great warm-up to their future films and still manages to hold up all these years later. Also, all of them are available on Hulu so you have no excuse for not watching. Watch them now!
But no great duo succeeds on its own. Frost and Pegg have had some fantastic support, mainly from director/collaborator Wright. As the director and co-writer of Shaun and Fuzz, his cinematic eye took the jokes on the page and turned them into great films. To understand his integral part in their work, you only need to look at Paul and compare it to Shaun or Fuzz. While Paul is still a wonderful movie and Greg Mottola is a great filmmaker, the combination of Wright, Pegg, and Frost is unstoppable. As mentioned above, Stevenson was another integral part of Spaced and I’d love to see what she could do with a full feature.
What’s in their future? Well, Paul opens this week so you should totally see that. What Shaun and Fuzz did for zombies and action, this does for sci-fi. It’s absolutely hilarious and well worth a trip to the theater, but Pegg and Frost also got to live every geek’s dream by starring in a Steven Spielberg film: The Adventures of Tin-Tin. Not too bad. And if you want more from Pegg, Frost, and Wright you’re in luck. They’re planning on writing the third installment in their Blood and Ice Cream trilogy (their name for the group of movies that include Shaun and Fuzz). We’re just in the middle of the age of Pegg and Frost and my, what a good time it is.