“Paul” is the story about two geeky friends, Graeme and Clive (Pegg and Frost), who leave their native England to visit Comic-Con in San Diego. After the convention they rent a winnebago and travel across the southwest to various UFO believer pilgrimage sites (Roswell, Area-51, the Black Mailbox).
One night they find Paul (voiced by Seth Rogen), an alien who crash-landed on Earth and is trying to get back home before the government agents (Jason Bateman, Bill Hader) can capture him. Hilarities ensue along the way of course, and Graeme and Clive’s friendship is tested and strengthened and yada yada yada.
You’ve seen this one before, I know. To be fair, the people behind “Paul” know it too because they made sure to include lots of references to those other sci-fi films for movie nerds, like me, to snicker at.
Some are more subtle than others, but my personal favorite was when Graeme and Clive visit the Vasquez Rocks to reenact the Gorn fight from an episode of “Star Trek.” (Mainly because I was surprised I was nerdy enough to recognize it.)
“Paul” wasn’t terrible and does provide some laughs. Most of them come from the titular character. And I never thought I’d be saying that the best part of a movie was Seth Rogen.
I liked the movie’s take on aliens. They aren’t some super advanced race that only speaks through telekinesis or whatever. Paul is just like any other slacker stoner you’d meet here on Earth. He just happens to be green and four feet tall.
The tone of the movie was something I really appreciated too. It was meant to be lighthearted and silly. It was an homage to all those other sci-fi movies we all love.
What was so disappointing for me was that it wasn’t what I’ve come to expect from Pegg and Frost. “Shaun of the Dead” and “Hot Fuzz” are great send-ups to zombie flicks and 80’s buddy cop films. I expected a little more British satire and a little less American raunch than I got.
“Paul” has its humorous moments, but most of them appear in the trailer, and that’s not enough to sustain the entire film. It would be worth a redbox when it comes out, especially if you’re a bit of nerd and can understand what it’s like to geek out over a book/ movie/ tv show/ etc. It could have been so much better. “Paul” is just a close encounter with greatness.
- ‘Paul’ review: Seth Rogen never looked better (herocomplex.latimes.com)
- Funny or Die vs. Area 51 (funnyordie.com)
- ‘Paul’ Unscripted: Simon Pegg and Nick Frost (moviefone.com)
- Simon Pegg and Nick Frost’s Star Wars (collegehumor.com)