Director: Greg Mottola
Writer: Simon Pegg & Nick Frost
Starring: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Jason Bateman, Kristen Wiig, Seth Rogen
Country: Spain, France, U.K., U.S.
MPAA Rating: R
Time: 104 minutes
Genre: Science Fiction, Comedy
USA Release: 3/18/2011
On DVD (USA): 8/9/2011
Ever wanted to take a road trip? I know I have, but would you really be prepared if you were encountered by an alien, not the illegal aliens but the ones outside our planet. Would you be able to calmly stand there or would you just crap your pants? Well that is what happens to our two favorite duo that brought us tons of laughs with “Shawn of the Dead” and Hot Fuzz”, this time they are doing the United States in this raunchy alien buddy road trip movie. But does it deliver the same laughs or does it just go for the cheap ones. Let’s see…
In “Paul” after crashing on earth the alien known only as “Paul” is basically sent to an Area 51 of sorts to be studied but after escaping he runs into two best friends Graeme (Simon Pegg) and Clive (Nick Frost). They of course decided after a trip to Comic-Con to take a road trip to all the alien hotspots never realizing they could ever meet a real one. After initial scaring the crap out of them, Paul (Seth Rogen) asks if they can help him get back home, after they see that Paul is not the kind of alien they were lead to believe they agree knowing full well what could happen if they get caught. During there expedition they are trying to keep far far away from the mysterious agent Zoil (Jason Batmen) who is on the hunt to find Paul, while in pursuit Zoil gets the help of two FBI agents Haggard (Bill Hader) and O’Reilly (Joe Lo Truglio) who have no idea who or what their target is. As Paul and the gang travel down the road they meet Ruth Buggs (Kristen Wiig) when they decides to stop off for the night at Ruth’s family’s RV park. After a mishap she now joins the group and this wild and crazy adventure and also learns something from Paul. But before they get Paul where they need to take him, they first need to make one stop so that Paul can fix something that he did many years ago. Unfortunately that just makes the distance between them and the people hunting them closer and closer.
Although I enjoyed parts of this movie, overall it was not as good as I thought it was going to be. But can you blame me, I mean look at their past work together, genius. “Paul” is just bland in comparison, but this is not a bad movie. I did find myself laughing out loud to a bunch of scenes, so don’t let my saying it’s bland stop you from seeing this film especially if you haven’t seen “Sawn of the Dead” or “Hot Fuzz”. I did like the fact that this is like a love letter to all that is science-fiction and aliens. Like in a lot of movies sometimes the comedy and the action don’t flow well together, but that was not the case with this, they had great balance, but since this is a comedy of course the laughs held higher then the action. And although many people including the people at the showing I was at probably loved the whole movie, I felt that it got a bit too raunchy for my taste. It’s a bit hard to really describe how I felt about this movie, but I know I didn’t hate it but I didn’t love it like I do with Frost & Pegg’s other work. Like many critics have talked about, yes this movie uses a lot of references to other classic movies, you can almost start a game with your friends and see how many you can spot. Unfortunately they may have gone a bit overboard for some, but I found it to be a nice addition to the story. There was also some great acting by the whole cast, Kristen Wiig was a great addition to the group after she gets picked up, delivering a ton of laughs. Seth Rogen I felt was probably the only person who could have voiced Paul, with his stoner ability but yet still making Paul a much deeper character. And as much as I liked Frost & Pegg in this film, going back on what I said many times, it’s not their best work. One of the things I really wish they would have kept more of a secret was Sigourney Weaver’s role in the film. I think it would have made the final act more surprising.
Overall this is a pretty average popcorn movie, some might hate it, while others will love it. With a great story, and a good amount of laugh out loud moments, some great acting and even a couple twist and turns. It’s a nice little love letter to the science-fiction world that might even make Steven Spielberg proud. But with a possible overdose on pop culture references, and a lot of raunchiness, it can not be called another instant hit from our two favorite British buddies.