Paul (2011)

March 19, 2011 By Mike B
Movie Review

What Worked?

The combined forces of the Fregg duo deliver a Sci-Fi, swear-packed, alien nerd-fest. Paul, directed by Superbad’s Greg Mottola is an interestingly funny road-trip flick. Paul is about two nerds and one alien, and at times is just as dirty as that sounds. Mottola, in Edgar Wright’s usual role directing Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, serves the fanboys well enough, and Pegg and Frost still got their guy-love chemistry sparking.

The film is always on-the-go, moving from awkward moments, to gross-out moments, to dry humor and back around again. Mottola is an able-minded director that keeps the pace brisk and steady. The CGI for Paul is done rather-well, as he looks like the classic alien figure, but also feels real enough to not be a glorified cartoon.

Pegg and Frost play the two comic book nerds: Graeme and Clive. Their actions fit their floppy hair and novelty t-shirts, as they are at ease playing authentic geeks. As they have in the past, they click in the bromance department once again. The comedic timing of Pegg and Frost is always sharply on the dot, and they still retain their nerd-boy personas throughout. Seth Rogen, voicing the title character, is a foul-mouthed, pot-smoking, insanely entertaining green little man. Rogen shines as Paul and delivers the vulgar humor on a golden plate. Joining the usual duo of Pegg and Frost is Kristin Wigg, playing the intensely religious Ruth. Wigg is a wonderful addition to the brigade, and adds to the comedy with her lovable awkward cursing and mannerisms.

Paul is like a comedic love-letter to classic Sci-Fi flicks written by some Comic-Con fans that got high off of Mars dust (probably a true story). This is a great addition to the golden vault of kick-back flicks, and contains characters that many would love to share a beer with. The script triggers genuine laughs, and takes some bold moves; for example, it takes humorous shots at intense, born-again Christians. In addition, the film is drenched with cinematic tributes, and almost doubles as a game to find them all. Paul is a fitting buddy, road-trip, alien encounter film that’s absurd and funny, making for a pretty good distraction from the drabness and tragedy of the everyday grind.

Potential Drawbacks:

This is not Hot Fuzz or Shaun of the Dead. Those two amazing efforts bring this film down a notch or 10, as it will live in those two titans’ shadows for most viewers. The story is all over the place, as most road-trip films are, but there isn’t a strong enough main focus to keep viewers completely engaged.

There is also a plethora of cameos and characters and ideas that the film gets bogged down at times. Pegg and Frost are in top form, but aren’t utilized to their blazing comedic potential that we know they’re capable of. At times you do think that Edgar Wright would’ve done a better job in the director’s chair, as the clashing of crude humor and Brit humor didn’t work all the time. The film just works better for viewers that are both fans of Sci-Fi films and Pegg /Frost.

Film Recommendations:

Shaun of the Dead

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