As a big fan of Simon Pegg and Nick Frost I had high hopes of being entertained when I walked into the Australian media preview of their new science fiction roadtrip comedy movie, co-starring Seth Rogan as the voice of PAUL.
My worry was that in order to get the $50 million budget they’d have to take the rough edges off their humour and tone it down for an American audience that might not get their usual geeky in joke, homage a minute type of comedy which won Pegg and Frost so many fans in Spaced, Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz.
The films plot begins with a pair of british sci-fi fans Graeme Willy (Simon Pegg) and Clive Gollings (Nick Frost) traveling to the USA to attend the annual Comic-Con convention. The pair plan to take a road trip across America after Comic Con, visiting sites of high Extra Terrestrial activity but instead meet alien hitchhiker PAUL who needs their help to escape US Government authorities and make it to a meeting point in time to grab a lift home via space ship.
If this sounds somewhat familiar it’s because the movie is a modern, less subtle version of Steven Spielbergs 4 oscar winning all-time classic E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial.
Overall I enjoyed it, after all this is a picture of me last week so its clear I’m a sci-fi fan 🙂
There were patches which reminded me of Spaced and Shaun of the Dead but PAUL is not as good as those from a fans perspective because the British humour and well written dialogue has been diluted by simplistic American teenage college roadtrip jokes – which should guarantee success at the box office.
Other Reviews of Paul
Part bromance, part sci-fi spoof and all a bit disappointing, “Paul” hits the road with two English nerds on vacation (Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, “Shaun of the Dead” and “Hot Fuzz”) who befriend a hard-partying alien from outer space (voiced by Seth Rogen). In theory, Rogen and helmer Greg Mottola’s laconic stoner style should’ve meshed well with the Brits’ tongue-in-cheeky approach. In practice, the cogs jam somewhat, resulting in fitfully funny but anodyne entertainment.
As you expect with a movie that begins at Comic Con, “Paul” revels in its geekdom. The movie is wall to wall with references to other sci-fi movies, some overt, some subtle, as we gradually catch on that this one little creature, Paul, must have been singlehandedly behind most of the close encounters of the last 70 years. The movie even supplies a new ending for one sci-fi classic, which brings it to a total of three.
Here’s a movie that teeters on the edge of being really pretty good and loses its way. I’m not sure quite what goes wrong, but you can see that it might have gone right. Maybe Paul, its alien hero, should have been sent back to the shop for a rewrite. He isn’t merely voiced by Seth Rogen, he is Seth Rogen, if Seth Rogen looked like your usual bulb-headed, big-eyed being from outer space.
– Roger Ebert