You know, with all the good buzz coming from the U.K. about this movie, I have to admit, my hopes were definitely up. I still had some minor reservations, but also with Simon Pegg and Nick Frost behind it, I was going glass half full.
You know, with all the good buzz coming from the U.K. about this movie, I have to admit, my hopes were definitely up. I still had some minor reservations, but also with Simon Pegg and Nick Frost behind it, I was going glass half full. Turns out, my glass was, like, 50 percent water and 50 percent air.
Paul has a fun premise. An alien crashes to Earth, and 60 years later escapes Area 51 and happens to enlist the help of two British sci-fi nerd tourists to help him contact his own kind to get home. Of course the government wants him back, so the chase is on. It’s a wacky road movie across the American West with a pot-smoking, Reese’s Pieces-loving alien.
Sounds entertaining, right? And it is, to some degree. Pegg and Frost, a comic artist and writer, respectively, are our English uber nerds, and after attending San Diego Comic Con, they’re off in their big Winnebago type mobile home to trek across the western U.S. while hitting all the UFO hot spots along the way. Their nerdiness is really high. Sometimes, they even speak Klingon to each other.
Pegg and Frost are great as one would expect. They are delightful nerds and as writers of the script, they fill it with wonderful and funny references to many science fiction films from Star Wars to Close Enconters of the Third Kind. This is easily my favorite part of the film. It takes a loving sci-fi nerd to pay homage to so many films in so many subtle ways as they do here.
Kristin Wiig plays Ruth Buggs, the love interest of sorts to Simon Pegg’s Graeme Willy. I like Kirstin Wiig. She’s one of the funnier people to come out of SNL. She plays a hardcore Bible-thumper that recently discovers swearing, and frankly it’s pretty funny. There is a fair amount of low brow humor in this, which kinda turned me off because I just feel that Pegg and Frost are better than that. Yeah, I know, their masterpiece Shaun of the Dead had some of that, too, and that’s fine, it’s just that they seemed to rely on it an awful lot in Paul. I thought they could have written smarter sci-fi jokes than that. I mean, how many anal probe jokes can you write regarding aliens? Whatever. Jason Bateman, Sigourney Weaver, Jeffery Tambor, Bill Hader, Blythe Danner, John Carroll Lynch all star in this and they’re all great. Even Jane Lynch makes a small appearance, but as always, she makes the most of her screen time.
And that leaves us with Paul. Paul is voiced by Seth Rogan. Paul is all CG animation and he looks great. I buy him in every scene, physically. In fact, it occurs to me that I even forgot that he was CG. I did not, however, forget that he was voiced by Seth Rogan. Every time he opened his mouth all I could think of was, “Oh, that’s Seth Rogan talking.”. Yeah, unfortunately, he took me out of the film constantly. I would have preferred someone less obvious, or someone that would at least alter their voice somehow. Not that I don’t like Seth Rogan, but when is he going to stop being popular? Didn’t The Green Hornet dampen that fire any? He’s really gotten the Will Ferrell Syndrome happening. They need to take a freakin’ break.
So Paul isn’t bad, but I would definitely call it only “OK”. Maybe three kittenhands. You’ll be entertained on a rainy Sunday afternoon matinee or for a DVD rental. It’s clearly not Simon Pegg and Nick Frost’s best work, though. I think I expected more from them since it was in the sci-fi genre.
~ Neil T. Weakley, your average movie-goer, not able to get Seth Rogan’s voice out of his head. Or is that SITH Rogan? Ha – see what I did there? Oh, the Power of Nerd, I haz it.