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Saturday, March 26, 2011

MOVIE REVIEW: PAUL

PAUL is THE ultimate geek movie of all time since Fanboys (2008)! Simon Pegg and Nick Frost have become one of the most popular British comedy duo's since their international fame in the BBC TV series Spaced (1999) and movies such as Shaun of the Dead (2004) and Hot Fuzz (2007). Simon Pegg has also achieved some success in American movies since he played the new Scotty in Star Trek (2009). PAUL is the story of two friends/geeks: Graeme Willy (Pegg) and Clive Gollings (Frost) who've traveled to the U.S. to see San Diego Comic-Con and tour the most infamous UFO hot spots like Area 51 and Roswell, New Mexico! Along the way they encounter a stranded, extra-terrestrial named simply Paul (voiced by Seth Rogen), who just happens to be a rude, foul-mouthed pot-smoking, lazy, slacker! Reluctantly, they agree to help Paul find his way home but along the way run into trouble with dangerous Men-In-Black agents, redneck hunters and bible-pumping trailer-trash!
This movie has so many pop-culture elements that appeal to both the comic-book/sci-fi loving nerds (like myself) and those who love the typical bathroom/pot humor buddy comedies. (It's amazing how those two sub-genres go together sometimes?) And that's where Seth Rogen comes in, who's no stranger to voice work from his parts in "family-friendly" Dreamwork's pictures such as Monsters vs. Aliens (2009) and Kung Fu Panda (2008) to appearing in more "adult"-related comedies like Pineapple Express (2008), Zack and Miri (2008) and Knocked Up (2007). And I use the word "adult" very loosely as most of his characters seem like the same pot-smoking looser, but he has apparently become one of the biggest stars right now since his role in The Green Hornet (2011). Although I found it to be a very campy treatment to an otherwise serious story similar to the travesty of Jim Carrey's The Mask (1994)!
Although I love Simon Pegg and Nick Frost it seemed inevitable that director Greg Mottola (Adventureland (2009), & Superbad (2007) would put these two together. Surprisingly, with Paul, I found myself wanting MORE Pegg and Frost and LESS Rogen! Despite being a computer-generated character, likened to the Grays from The X-Files to very reminiscent of Gollum in The Lord of the Rings, Rogen steals the show with his incredibly realistic and highly detailed character. It seems ironic that one of THE most sophisticated computer-generated characters ever is reduced to a crude, pot-head, loser but he amazingly manages to insight a great deal of sympathy and pathos to his character.
The movie is so filled with pop-culture/sci-fi references it's enough to make even the most casual fanboy giggle (admittedly) with nerdy snorts from Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica, Buck Rogers, E.T. and especially Close Encounters of the Third Kind. There are SO many recognizable comedy and sci-fi related cameos in this movie from Jason Bateman, Jeffrey Tambor, David Koechner, Bill Hader, Jane Lynch and even Sigourney Weaver and Stephen Spielberg! Kristen Wiig plays the confused, love interest to Simon Pegg who starts out as a pitiful, sheltered, bible-pumping girl (with a weird eye thing?) and with the help (or rather corruption) by Paul is free to pursue a relationship with Graeme and start cursing like an awkward middle-school student.
I just can't stop singing the praises of the Pegg and Frost duo, they're my new buddy comedy favorites since Mike Myers and Dana Carvey or Chris Farley and David Spade! Ever since I saw Shaun of the Dead I've enjoyed they're chemistry and camaraderie through thick and thin, zombies and aliens! Paul is their first American movie together although it was written by both of them, director Mottola I feel may not be the best fit for them as their previous collaborator, director Edgar Wright, who directed both Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, but also the recent comic-book/ film adaptation of Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (2010). If you haven't experienced the comic genius of Pegg and Frost, I highly recommend them and if you too are a fellow geek, PAUL is a laugh-riot! So, may the farce be with you and live long and prosper or something!


Paul Official Movie Website: http://whatispaul.com/