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 to attend giant conventions where they can spend hundreds of dollars on autographs or they will rally thousands of signatures to ensure that their favorite television programs, no matter how obscure, stay on the air. And as their collective power has increased, the more they find themselves represented in the mainstream media, naturally allowing the masses to love them for their endearing social ineptitude. This newfound love of all things geeky is what makes movies like Greg Mattola’s new alien film, PAUL, possible and, boy oh boy, does it ever geek it up hardcore.
PAUL opens on a lone farm house in a large, empty field. Windmills start to turn frantically as a rocking chair rocks back and forth on a porch front. Before long, flashing lights fill the sky and a dog barks at the moon. This is quintessential aliens from outer space cinema and the kitch-tastic intro tells us right away that we will be both delighting in, and sending up, all that we have come to know about alien invader movies. As an added bonus though, stars and writers, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, (the former previously penned the hilarious SHAUN OF THE DEAD and HOT FUZZ), provide us with a rather touching look at the loneliness and insecurity that might accompany men who have never known anything other than their obsessions and each other. This is certainly no small feat considering their co-star is a little green guy voiced by Seth Rogen. The threesome embark on a road trip through a horribly unforgiving middle-America, in an attempt to get the little guy home – he had phoned in earlier – and run into a number of peculiar characters, from an actual man in black (Jason Bateman) to a religious zealot (Kristin Wiig). Ideas about God, the universe and space genitalia are exchanged en route.
Fortunately, geeky humour works for all – the geeks who get the inside jokes and everybody else who can just laugh at how incredibly geeky everything is. PAUL may be occasionally predictable or transparent but Mattola is sure to infuse this buddy movie with as much heart and sincerity as is possible, given the subject matter. His work may seem extreme at times (SUPERBAD anyone?) but it is also always relatable and genuine. While he has his audience distracted with the enjoyment they derive from immersing themselves in nerd culture, whether that inspires superiority in one viewer or solace for another, he manages to sneak something in that no one would see coming and that is humanity. Who knew that meeting an alien from another planet could make you feel more like you belong on this one?
Thanks for reading. LUNCH rating is out of 10.
For more Black Sheep Reviews, just click the link below ...
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 … more
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 … more
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 … more
Hello Lunchers. I am a thirty-something guy making his way in Toronto. I am a banker by day and a film critic the rest of the time. Sensitive, sharp and sarcastic are just a few words that start with … more
Consider the Source
Use Trust Points to see how much you can rely on this review.
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...