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A 2011 comedy movie directed by Greg Mottola.

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Geek-Tacular "Two Guys, A Lady and An Alien" Comedic Buddy Formula!!

  • Mar 18, 2011
“Buddy Flicks” are also a dime-a-dozen these days, and I knew it was only a matter of time before someone took the premise of “E.T. the Extraterrestrial” and “Mac and Me” and crammed it into the premise of “Trains, Planes and Automobiles” and "National Lampoons Vacation". Well, the comedic duo of “Hot Fuzz” and “Shaun of the Dead” reunite (curiously missing director Edgar Wright) and together with director Greg Mottola of “Superbad” fame, they give us a buddy film that is charming endearing and energetic that it kept my attention for its entirety despite its rather clichéd formula.

Two English, "Klingon-speaking", comic book nerds, Graeme Willy (Simon Pegg) and Clive Gollings (Nick Frost) have traveled to America to attend the annual Comic-Con and then to go on a road trip to visit the sites where UFO’s have been known to frequent. While they were taking photos near the “Area 51” site, they encounter a wise-cracking, smart and charming alien named “Paul” (Seth Rogen) who had been held in captivity by the government for more than 60 years and has been an influential enigma in American pop culture. The two comic geeks decide that they’d like to make it their mission to help Paul go home, as they are pursued by Zoil (Jason Bateman), a government agent who answers only to a female voice on the radio (it is quite a surprise who this is) and two FBI nerdy agents (Joe Lo Truglio and Bill Hader). Picking up a Christian woman named Ruth (Kristen Wiig) along the way, the trio is now also pursued by her fanatical father (John Carroll Lynch). Can Paul really manage to escape and finally go home to his home planet?

“Paul” is at heart and core is a buddy film with its comedic gags, energy and tone as its main aces to generate entertainment. Director Greg Mottola seems right at home with the film’s premise, and he makes no attempts in creating a sci-fi film and resorts to comedic lines and characterization to tell the story. He captures the familiar thematic groundwork of two guys who are caught into playing a part of adventure. There is nothing special about the film’s premise and quite frankly it is very predictable. The film makes a connection to its audience through its characters and the way they interact with one another. Mottola’s credible direction and the film’s sharp wit and dialogue makes for a charming comedy about two guys, a lady and an alien.

The film also has tributes to alien movies in the bucket loads; as Spielberg’s “E.T.”, Cameron’s “Aliens”, “Close Encounters” of the Third Kind and even has tributes to “Warehouse 13” (or “Raiders of the Lost Ark” if you will) and even “Mac and Me”. I also enjoyed the jokes delivered about the age-old sci-fi stapling on the 'anal probe', I thought those were pretty clever. “Paul” may also stand as a tribute to comic book/sci-fi geeks who appear to be walking encyclopedias of pop culture. Real ones have talent and they truly like and enjoy who and what they are. “Paul” is also a film that makes a subtle commentary about friendship and perhaps even the arrogance of earthlings that we are indeed the center of the universe.

Much of the film’s entertainment value comes from the quips and banter and how our trio forms their friendship. The delivery of such lines were incredibly well-timed by comedy veterans Pegg and Frost. Their exchanges were so funny and this film is one such display of their talent. The two were just so believable as best friends, that I easily bought into their act. True, some jokes proved to be a little overused as they seem to be rethreads of those I’ve seen in “Hot Fuzz” but the duo nonetheless has the skill, the charisma to feed off each other’s lines. Honestly, I’ve never been a huge fan of Seth Rogen; I thought his resume is very uneven but this time around, Rogen makes for a charming and funny alien. His delivery of the lines are spot-on, that I easily bought into the wise-cracking, sharp-mouthed rude alien bit. The alien CGI effects were pretty good, and it moves fluidly; albeit I did notice that some scenes had the mouth movements appear a little out of sync. It wasn’t too noticeable that it looked bad but they were definitely there. Regardless, the facial expressions and mannerisms were spot-on and I enjoyed Rogen’s portrayal.

A few more things I also would like to mention are the supporting characters. FBI agents Haggard and O’Reilly at first look seem to have a close parallel to our leads, if a little more obsessive and scary. Jason Bateman makes for an interesting ‘man in black’ and actress Kristen Wiig added a lot of needed complication. I liked the way she transformed from an innocent religious lady to one who quickly developed a potty mouth and seemed eager to commit sin (fornication, swearing and all the other good stuff). She allowed the perfect balance and provided renewed energy to keep things interesting on the road trip.

“Paul” is a fun and clever film and it was refreshing to see the duo of “Hot Fuzz” do the same to aliens as they did to cops and zombies. I liked the film and please do not take the following as negative comments but the film does take a bit longer to really get things going. Some parts were a little ho-hum and personally I got a bit tired of the overused “we’re not gay” line. Some parts of the screenplay also felt a little sketchy as the direction seemed to struggle on some areas; as I hoped for a much stronger meshing between dialogue, visuals and sci-fi references. I am not trying to nit-pick, but merely stating an observation.

That said, “Paul” is a very good film worth seeing. It is the type that will make you laugh and charm its way into your brain. It makes for a great road tripping movie and one can easily form a connection to its characters. It is a fine example of an overused comedic formula helped along by its great acting, direction and plot development.

Recommended! [4 Out of 5 Stars]


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February 14, 2012
Great write-up and wonderful pictures !
March 21, 2011
Wow, why does this movie seem so awesome and 80's to me? Just reading the plot and seeing the pics makes me think of Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure and Weird Science! Great review, Woo! Adding this to my list of movies I have to see :)
March 21, 2011
I know what you mean. I also liked the 80's sci-fi references. You have me thinking of Weird Science now...with Kelly LeBrock.... (oops sorry, excuse me LOL!) I think you'll like this one, the comedy is pretty well executed and stays on point despite the flaw that the premise was just predictable.
March 21, 2011
Good review. I'm gonna wait on this one for DVD. I'm one of the rare few who don't find Seth Rogen even remotely funny, and this flick's stated anti-Christian slant has turned me off, but I will see it once it's on DVD. I'm usually much more forgiving with my DVD choices, mostly b/c DVD rentals don't cost nearly as much as a box office ticket does these days.
March 21, 2011
I can see that. I am with you with ticket prices and usually comedies are a low priority for me, but lately, my mood needed a lot of cheering up and I guess I needed a lot of laughs. I am not a fan of Rogen either, but somehow, I thought this was entertaining but inferior to the other movies Pegg and Frost have done. As for the anti-Christian slant, I can see it potentially offensive to some, but I think you'll be able to tolerate it.
March 20, 2011
Nice review, William. I'm glad you enjoyed this one as much as I did. :) Have you ever seen the TV series "Spaced", also starring Pegg & Frost, and directed by their usual collaborator Edgar Wright? If you haven't, I would highly recommend hunting it down - I'm pretty sure you can get the complete series on DVD in the US. Very funny stuff.
March 21, 2011
Agreed with the sentiments on SPACED. It's brilliant.
March 21, 2011
I will be hunting down "Spaced" tomorrow!
March 20, 2011
"The delivery of such lines were incredibly well-timed by comedy veterans Pegg and Frost. Their exchanges were so funny and this film is one such display of their talent. The two were just so believable as best friends, that I easily bought into their act." That is spot on WP, excellent review, also I will be doing that newsletter for you, been insanely busy. But with that said I may have some BIG news to share with you in the next couple of days or so if everything goes as planned.
March 20, 2011
Sweet! I can hardly wait!!
March 20, 2011
The previews I've seen make me think of this alien as being a "Roger," the alien from "American Dad." Nice review. :)
March 20, 2011
LOL! now that you mentioned it, you are right he does appear very similar to "Roger". I thought he was familiar but I couldn't exactly lay a finger on it.
March 20, 2011
I like "American Dad," so I recognized that feature right away. I like it more than "Family Guy."
March 20, 2011
I can see that. I used to like Family Guy quite a bit until the humor started to devolve to being just crude at times and plain controversial than just plain funny.
March 20, 2011
I agree. Got annoying!
March 20, 2011
there are times that I can enjoy crude and dirty humor but feed it to me too much and I'll get tired of it to the point of annoyance.
March 20, 2011
Agree again! You and I are similar in tastes sometimes. :)
March 19, 2011
This looks just warped enough for me to find it entertaining. I may head to the theatres to see this so long as it's not in 3-D. LOL!
March 19, 2011
thankfully I don't think the UK has fallen under the 3D gimmick yet. You will like this one I think since you have a fondness for British comedies.
More Paul (2011 movie) reviews
review by . March 19, 2011
‘Paul' is Out of the World
Nerds, wizards, people in the craft of war and the rest of the reality inept…May I introduce you to Paul? I had my reservations about this movie, but by the end I was onboard. Paul isn’t complicated; a pair of Brits on holiday at Comic-Con who set out to see the unconventional sights the US has to offer stumble upon a nerds wet dream, a real life alien in need of help.      The film stars Simon Pegg, Nick Frost and Seth Rogen who brings to life the sarcastic but …
review by . March 25, 2011
Hollywood had three alien invasions hit theaters this month, each dramatically different films. Disney's Mars Needs Moms is a family friendly animation, Battle:LA is an action heavy flick with an Independence Day meets Cloverfield feel, but it is Paul that clearly brings the house down with an amazing balance of story, comedy and geek-tastic references.  Although the box office might rank Battle: LA higher than Paul, I would not judge the films in that order.  I think Paul is …
review by . October 11, 2011
It's the new super-sexy Express Review format that celebrates A.D.D.   Paul is the worst comedy of 2011, if not the worst film, period. I didn't fall for the "two British guys travelling must be gay" gag the first time or even the twentieth time it was used. Making the Baptists look dumb didn't quite do it for me either. I did smile once when I remembered I still had a frozen pizza I hadn't eaten. The casting department miscast Seth Rogen as the voice of the …
review by . March 23, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
 **1/2 out of ****      There's a sci-fi movie/comic-book geek in all of us. Deep down; we were adventurous at one point on our lives. But some people don't grow up, in fact, many don't. Two of the kids who fail to grow up, even past twenty years of age, are the characters of "Paul"; two geeks by the names of Graeme and Clive. These two are played by Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, respectively, and the whole affair essentially turns out as you'd expect …
review by . March 01, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
From the TV show Spaced to the movies Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, actors Simon Pegg and Nick Frost have rapidly proved themselves to be one of the great modern double acts of comedy, but, somewhat surprisingly, Paul is their first fully developed writing collaboration.      In this highly entertaining comedy/sci-fi adventure, Pegg & Frost play Graeme & Clive, two British sci-fi geeks who experience a little more than they bargained for during a trip to the USA. Following …
review by . March 18, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Get your geek on!
PAUL   Written by Simon Pegg and Nick Frost   Directed by Greg Mattola   Starring Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Kristen Wiig, Jason Bateman and Seth Rogen       Graeme Willy (at Comic-Con): I love it here.  It feels right.       It has never been cool to be a nerd, but if the nerd community has proven anything in recent years, it is that they are a force to be reckoned with.  They will band together when necessary …
review by . April 04, 2011
Paul Pleases To A Degree
Paul comes from the minds of Nick Frost and Simon Pegg, both of Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz fame.  The Brits play a pair of science fiction loving nerds who, after attending the San Diego Comic Con, inadvertantly run into Paul while on a road trip to famous alien encounter spots in the American Southwest.         Paul is on the run from Area 51 and a few men in black who have very bad plans for him.  As he, Frost, and Pegg are on the …
review by . March 19, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Star Rating:         It’s no longer enough that aliens exist. Now they have to act exactly as we do. Or, at least, as the immature eighteen-year-olds we all were at a certain point. The inherent flaw of Paul, the newest comedy written by and starring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, is that, by making the title character a foulmouthed, wisecracking, beer-chugging, pot-smoking, English-speaking dude, he becomes the most human of them all. The best we get is that …
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About this movie


Simon Pegg and Nick Frost (Hot Fuzz, Shaun of the Dead) reunite for the comedy adventure Paul as two sci-fi geeks whose pilgrimage takes them to America's UFO heartland. While there, they accidentally meet an alien who brings them on an insane road trip that alters their universe forever. For the past 60 years, an alien named Paul (voiced by Seth Rogen) has been hanging out at a top-secret military base. For reasons unknown, the space-traveling smart ass decides to escape the compound and hop on the first vehicle out of town-a rented RV containing Earthlings Graeme Willy (Pegg) and Clive Gollings (Frost). Chased by federal agents and the fanatical father of a young woman that they accidentally kidnap, Graeme and Clive hatch a fumbling escape plan to return Paul to his mother ship. And as two nerds struggle to help, one little green man might just take his fellow outcasts from misfits to intergalactic heroes...
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Director: Greg Mottola
Genre: Comedy, Sci-Fi
Release Date: 14 February 2011 (UK) 18 March 2011 (US)
MPAA Rating: R
Screen Writer: Nick Frost, Simon Pegg
Runtime: 104 mins
Studio: Working Title, Relativity Media
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