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Paul


Have you ever wondered why the standard image of an alien is an oblong head, big eyes, skinny body and long, extended hands/fingers? What if that was modeled after a real alien who crash-landed on earth and became pop culture’s lead consultant on everything unknown? Paul delves into this idea as two sci-fi nerds aid an alien in returning to his home planet.

Grade:

Graeme Willy (Simon Pegg) and Clive Gollings (Nick Frost) are two endearing, sci-fi loving Londoners making a road trip through the American Southwest to hit Comic-Con and some of the most famous alien-related hotspots. Along the way they run into Paul (Seth Rogen), an alien who crash-landed decades ago and has recently escaped from the government. The pair decides to help Paul get home as they try to outrun agents (Jason Bateman, Joe Lo Truglio and Bill Hader).

Paul asks one thing from its audience: embrace your inner nerd. Everything about the film is tailor-made for sci-fi fans and anyone who is willing to be a little (ok, extremely) immature for an hour-and-a-half. This results in a surprisingly hilarious and clever film with an absurdly deep cast of cameos – Kristen Wiig, Jeffrey Tambor, Jane Lynch, David Koechner, and Stephen Spielberg to name a few.

While Pegg and Frost are excellent – when are they not? – the real surprise for me was Truglio and Hader. As O’Reilly and Haggard, the immature agents who have no idea what is going on, they steal the scenes they are involved in and garner the heartiest laughs. Truglio, especially, goes above and beyond his typical side role and takes over with some of the better lines and more ridiculous scenes.

The only spot where Paul fails is with Wiig’s character Ruth and her father. They are ultra conservative Christians who constantly proselytize and refute all scientific developments. The writers made a concerted effort to incorporate the idea of alien life into all aspects of pop culture, but making the religious participants fanatics and lambasting them does not help their case. It is, however, amusing to watch Wiig try to improvise how a completely naïve girl would react to the newfound freedom of “cursing and fornication”.

Paul, himself, is rude, obnoxious and has unexplained powers. Who cares? Paul was made in homage to all other extraterrestrial films and brings a smile to your face. Release your hang-ups and you’ll be amazed how often you will laugh.

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  1. This is a movie where the trailers/TV spots made it look so incredibly stupid but it’s actually funny and pretty charming. Good read!

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