“Paul” Is Out There
By Jay Fralick on March 22, 2011
Simon Pegg and Nick Frost are back doing what they do best, paying homage to films that they love. This time, they turn their sights on alien movies in Paul.
Pegg and Frost do double duty, both writing and starring in the film, which is directed by Greg Mottola, director of Superbad and Adventureland. Pegg plays Graeme Willy and Frost plays Clive Gollings; they’re a pair of nerds from England who have saved up to go to nerd mecca, aka the San Diego Comic Con. It’s clear from the beginning that Willy and Gollings concentrate their nerd energy on Sci-Fi and, specifically, aliens; they rent an RV as part of their plan to cross the U.S. to visit sites of notable alien activity, including Area 51 and Roswell.
Shortly into their road trip, Willy and Gollings meet the foul-mouthed “little green man”, Paul, voiced by Seth Rogen. Paul, it turns out, has been living in a secret military base for quite some time. When he finally realizes that he’s a prisoner, rather than a guest, he makes his escape. Because of Paul’s horrible driving skills, he ends up on the road with Willy and Gollings. Paul convinces the two to help him get to a particular location where he will make contact with his fellow aliens to pick him up.
The trio is on the run from two country-folk types, played by David Koechner and Jesse Plemons, due to a slight mishap involving a pick-up with a name. Also in on the chase are two bumbling federal agents, played by Bill Hader and Joe LoTruglio and Agent Zoil, played by Jason Bateman, an agent of the mysterious Big Guy.
Adding to the hilarity is Kristen Wiig, who plays Ruth, a super-religious woman who works for her father at an RV park. Ruth is accidentally kidnapped after seeing Paul, which sends her father, Moses, into the chase as well. Ruth is changed by the interaction with Paul and Wiig plays her newly discovered freedom for serious laughs.
Rogen’s voice is the perfect match for the smart-ass Paul. Pegg and Frost are believable as sci-fi nerds and Wiig could bring the funny to just about any role. Hader and LoTruglio are over-the-top and a good counterpart to Bateman’s no nonsense Agent Zoil.
Fans of Sci-Fi — and specifically alien — movies will enjoy numerous references to classic movie scenes and themes. This is not the third in the blood and ice cream trilogy and Edgar Wright is not involved as far as the credits tell us, but this is an homage movie and Pegg and Frost’s love for aliens is clear.
Be prepared for Paul’s language: That’s the one comment that keeps coming up about this film, but if that doesn’t bother you, go check this one out.
How much would I pay to see this one again? Out of $10, I’d pay $9. It is just fun, especially if you are fans of the actors.
Jay Fralick is the co-host of the Wanna Watch a Movie? Podcast
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