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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
Sure it's not a comedic masterpiece, but its a lot of fun
It's been a long wait, but finally, for the first time since 2007 Simon Pegg and Nick Frost team up once again as the unstoppably funny duo. Their pairing this time isn't quite at the same quality of comedy as Hot Fuzz or Shaun of the Dead but let's face it, those two movies are comedy gold. Paul is still hilarious and it is rife with highly quotable jokes that you can laugh about for days. Plus it has plenty of great nerdy sci-fi humor that only us true geeks and catch on to. Paul follows two British tourists in America, Graeme (Pegg) and Clive (Frost) who are traveling cross-country to visit all of the most famous UFO sightings in America. While in Area 51 they pick up a hitchhiking alien named Paul who is excellently voiced by Seth Rogen. Graeme and Clive quickly learn that agreeing to protect this extraterrestrial is giving them a lot more than they bargained for as they are chased by the FBI, hillbillies, and a religious shotgun toting nut job.
If there's one thing I can commend Paul on, it's finally giving us the satisfaction of an R rated sci-fi comedy. The blend of the two genres is great and making it a vulgar, violent riot is just what fans needed with so many lame PG-13 comedies floating around these days. Pegg and Frost wrote a hilarious script for this movie, one that easily could have been ruined by a few edits to suit a PG-13 rating. But thankfully they got to keep it their way and give us something obscenely entertaining.
Paul isn't one of those profound comedies that breaks the barriers of typical comedy or goes unforgettably above and beyond, but it is really funny. The jokes are hilarious almost every time. It's not high brow comedy by any means and there are a number of fart jokes, gay jokes, poop jokes, and so on and so forth, but I can't say that they didn't make me laugh because I most certainly did. But as an added bonus the film is filled to the brim with sci-fi film references. They range from blatant, like a set of fireworks that make the Close Encounters of the Third Kind tone, to as subtle as the band in the bar playing the Mos Eisley cantina song from Star Wars. This has got to be one of the nerdiest scripts ever written, and I absolutely loved it. I'm sure there are a number of references I missed or didn't get, but that's just because every little thing is a reference to some sort of sci-fi film or theme. To quote the Brits, "It's brilliant!" There's no two ways about it, Paul is cast perfectly. Pegg and Frost are obviously excellent and you couldn't find a better duo of British nerds anywhere. Seth Rogen does a surprisingly good job voicing the alien, whose animations are also excellent and add a lot of comedy to the film. Other supporting characters are great in their roles, like Kristen Wiig playing the neurotic ex-Christian Ruth Buggs. Jason Bateman plays a straight man role as the FBI agent leading the chase after Paul and he is hilarious in his own deadpan way. Bill Hader and Joe Lo Truglio play two other FBI agents who make a hilarious little side pair of characters who have their own running jokes and quirks. Then there are tons of cameos from very recognizable actors such and Jeffrey Tambor, Janey Lynch, David Koechner, and even Sigourney Weaver. There's hardly an actor in this film that I don't go, "Hey! I recognize that guy" when I seem him or her.
Paul by no means transcends the comedy genre but it is no doubt funny. If you don't find at least some of the humor in this film amusing then there is something wrong with you. Sure it's cheesy at moments, OK it can be predictable at times, but as a comedy it really works and it gave me a solid hour and forty minutes of great entertainment. If you love a good R rated comedy, go see this movie, and if you're a sci-fi nerd you have to see this movie just for the fun of catching references. This is a great little comedy that is plenty of fun to watch.
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