Sunday, 20 February 2011


At last humanity has met an extraterrestrial.....
and he's one of us.

He drinks, smokes, swears, farts, hangs out with his mates and has a laugh.
Oh, and he can turn invisible when he holds his breath and he eats live birds.

Paul ( the movie ) is Simon Pegg's and Nick Frost's love letter to the science fiction and comedy films of their youth, the movies of Spielberg, Lucas, Cameron and Landis. Scattered throughout the movie are references to, and lines of dialogue taken from, Close Encounters, ET, The Blues Brothers, Aliens and even Jaws.

Paul ( the character ) is a wise-cracking alien slacker who has been held by the US government since crashing his spaceship on top of a dog (!) back in 1947 and who now just wants to phone home. A combination of Seth Rogen's warm, happy-go-lucky, drawling characterisation and some impeccable CGI, Paul is a triumph: a totally believable character, both alien and familiar, who seems properly alive and not just a mass of pixels.

The core of the film is the friendship between loveable nerds Graeme Willy ( Pegg ) and Clive Gollings ( Frost ) who are on a road trip around America's UFO hotspots, taking in San Diego Comic-Con on the way. This friendship is tested when they pick up the fugitive ET and find themselves being chased by the police, secret service, rednecks, Bible-bashers and Sigourney Weaver.

Although missing the unique energy and lightning-fast editing of their frequent collaborator, Edgar Wright, Pegg and Frost surround themselves here with top-class American comedy talent and hand the reigns to Superbad director Greg Mottola, who handles the action well and has a good eye for landscapes. The dialogue is often hilarious, with some very creative swearing, especially from the lovely Kristen Wiig as a Creationist who loses her faith on meeting Paul and decides to get on with the business of "kissing and fornicating" sooner rather than later. Which is good news for Simon Pegg's character.....

Maybe not an instant classic like Shaun Of The Dead, the film is still hugely entertaining and laugh-out-loud funny, with the added bonus ( for us fellow nerds ) of spotting all those film references. The central relationships between Graeme, Clive and Paul are the heart of the film and lift it above many other, lesser, slacker comedies.

Keep watching the skies!


That Baldy Fella said...

I feel like I ought to be a lot more excited about this than I am (Pegg/Frost fan, sci-fi nerd) but nothing about this ha particularly grabbed me so far. I think I'll wait til DVD...

cerebus660 said...

As you can tell I enjoyed it. Occasionally the mix of English and American styles of humour doesn't quite work, but overall it's good fun with a surprisingly sweet centre.

Matthew K. said...

I trust your judgement Simon. I'll check it out when it opens in the States on 3/18. Rock on!


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