Thursday, October 20, 2011

Movie Review: Paul (2011)

Simon Pegg and Nick Frost have become one of my favorite comedic film duos of modern times. Whether its Shaun of the Dead or Hot Fuzz these guys just crack me up. But I when I first heard about Paul I was more than a little apprehensive. I mean the trailer was probably what did it. It came off as probably being a really stupid movie...and not funny stupid just stupid stupid.

I am happy to say that I was proven completely wrong. When an alien named Paul (after a little girls dog whom he hit with his ship while crashing) finally realizes that hes not just a guest but a prisoner he escapes and happens upon Graeme and Clive, two English nerds in the states to attend comicon and visit famous alien crash sites. The film follows their adventures as they take Paul to his destination to leave earth all the while being pursued by government agents intent on preventing Paul's exodus from our planet.

Let me tell you, this film is a geek film through and through. With references to Aliens, Star Wars, Star Trek, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and E.T. if you are a sci-fi nerd you will love this movie. Right off the bat as Graeme and Clive are walking to comicon they chuckle at the fantasy fans dressed as Orcs. This is a movie people in that community will totally understand though people who aren't too much into the science fiction/fantasy genres might not quite understand some of the jokes or references. Whether its a country bar band playing the Mos Eisley Cantina music from A New Hope, the two main characters re-enacting Kirk's fight with the green lizard man, or The Devil's Tower being the meeting place for Paul and his ride back into space, these all add to the entertainment and fun provided by the film.

Frost and Pegg do wonderful jobs playing fanboys, the exact kind of people who most of us have met in real life (or we happen to be). The unkempt greasy fans who see most things through the lens their favorite genre. Seth Rogen also does a good job voicing Paul. Of course having been hanging out on Earth for decades Paul has assimilated to our culture and comes off as just another one of the guys. Jason Bateman plays a hilariously serious government agent who has to put up with Bill Hader (Knocked Up, Superbad) and Joe Lo Truglio (Superbad), his moronic peers. The only character I didn't really enjoy was the one played by Kristen Wiig. Wiig's character realizes a bit into the movie there is probably no higher power and begins to let lose with cursing left and right. While I don't mind cuss words with her doing it so often (and horribly as someone without experience would sound) it just seemed a bit forced and unnecessary.

Besides Wiig's character the story also takes potshots at religion. While this didn't bother me at first it became a little stale as it was referenced to a little too much as the film went on. And while I wouldn't exactly consider myself very in line with the Christian faith it might get annoying to some who practice it. Though I did read it was basically done as a nod towards the bible thumping religious wack job mother of Carrie from the Stephen King book (and later movie) of the same name.

You could say Paul is to Science Fiction geekdom as Fanboys was to Star Wars lovers. It's a hilarious movie but even more than that it comes off very heart felt in many ways. It totally sounds cheesy I know but you can tell the movie follows the queues of E.T. where it is an alien being taken care of by a few friends who are trying to do the right thing after befriending the E.T. in the process of their journey together. Watch this not only if you enjoy previous movies done by Nick Frost and Simon Pegg, but if you are a science fiction fan in general. There is plenty here to give you a good time!

Score: 9/10

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