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Two sci-fi geeks take a pilgrimage 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. When he discovers he's been taken prisoner, 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 (Simon Pegg) and Clive Gollings (Nick 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. Written by
I like a movie that can make something familiar feel fresh. Paul is this years Short Circuit, or Starman, or Maybe even Galaxy Quest. Its merger of crude/rude and witty comedy plus a cast where everyone brings their A-game, without going too far makes Paul a good watch.
Let's start with top billing. I'll be among the few to say that I didn't love either Nick Frost or Simon Pegg in the Hot Fuzz/Shawn of the Dead duo. They wrote themselves with too much 'sour' in mind and too much self-mockery. For this script, I think they nailed it. Here they are not simply goofs, they are likable goofs, the parts have been written with a few more 'straight' moments, and honesty to balance the satire.
The two of them are on an RV road trip in the south western states from Comic-Con to Roswell. Once in New Mexico however, they get perhaps a little more than they anticipated when they meet the survivor of a car crash in the middle of the night...a little green man, one who speaks English, has been on Earth since 1947, and is asking for a lift.
Paul is delightfully beyond the reach of reason. It's actually a million light years more absurd than Shawn of the dead and Hot Fuzz, so I felt a little more explanation would've helped. It's not too hard to draw conclusions about how Paul learnt English, but why is he speaking it like a punk? He has some really great lines, but he seems way too human for an Alien. Then again, if he wasn't the movie wouldn't be quite as funny.
As the movie starts to wrap up, it does so with a lot of spectacle (perhaps maybe a bit too much). A few too many guns get pointed bullets get fired for me, but at least the laughs keep coming which is important.
Paul, creaks a little here and there, but it is appetizing as a comedy with a buddy movie spirit and a good dose of sci-fi satire.
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