Review: Paul


Directed by: Greg Mottola
Written by:Nick Frost, Simon Pegg
Starring: Nick Frost, Simon Pegg, Seth Rogen, Jason Bateman, Kristen Wiig, Sigorney Weaver, Jane Lynch, Bill Hader, Jeffrey Tambor
Released: April 14, 2011
Grade: B-

Graeme (Pegg) and Clive (Frost) are two nerds from England who are on holidays in the United States.  They attend a comic book convention and then take their RV on a road trip to visit the location of some famous UFO sightings.  Their list of sites includes Area 51 in Nevada and Roswell in New Mexico.

Lo and behold, they discover a real alien on their adventure.  His name is Paul (voiced by Seth Rogen) and he recently escaped from a secret government facility.  He’s trying to get to a certain location where he can be rescued by his compatriots from a far away planet.

It takes a little while for the reality of situation to sink in by Graeme and Clive agree to help Paul on his journey.  Not only can he speak English but he has a dry, sarcastic sense of humour.  He has a few cool superpowers too.  Also joining them on the adventure is a young, religious woman named Ruth (Wigg) who they meet at a caravan park.  She has somewhat of an “epiphany” on meeting Paul and it leaves her questioning her lifelong beliefs.

Simon Pegg and Nick Frost are a talented duo and they’ve made some great films together.  The first two films that come to mind are Shaun Of The Dead and Hot Fuzz (which Pegg also co-wrote).  They belong in the DVD collections of anyone who enjoys a witty English spoof.

Whilst there are a few laughs to be watching Paul, I consider it to be a much weaker comedy.  It’s the kind of film where you’d say that the best jokes are used in the trailer.  I was also disappointed with the way they used the same gags over and over again (such as Ruth’s compulsive swearing).  More could have been made of this premise but the film was a little too silly, too lowbrow for my tastes.

It’s strange in that the best material seems to have been saved for the supporting cast members.  Blythe Danner’s appearance late in the film gives it a much needed kick.  Also making the most of their screen time are Jane Lynch (Glee) and Jeffrey Tambor (The Larry Sanders Show).  You’re likely to find yourself smiling when you spot Steven Spielberg’s quick cameo.

Directed by the usually reliable Greg Mottola (Superbad, Adventureland), Paul fell short of my expectations.