Monday, July 18, 2016

Movie Review: "Paul" (2011)

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Director: Greg Mottola
Year: 2009
Rating: R
Running Time: 1 hour, 44 minutes

Two friends from England named Clive Gollings (Nick Frost) and Graeme Willy (Simon Pegg) come to the United States to go to San Diego's Comic-Con and to take a road trip to many historical UFO sites. While fleeing a bad situation after a slight altercation with a pair of redneck-types, the pair sees a speeding car run off the road. When they check to see if everything is OK, they discover the car is being driven by an alien named Paul (Seth Rogen). Paul is on the run from a government facility and is heading to a rendezvous with a spacecraft so he can return home. As huge sci-fi geeks, the two men decide to help Paul and give him a ride to his rendezvous point.

"Paul" is directed by Greg Mottola, who is best known for his films "Superbad" and "Adventureland." The film is written by and stars Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, who have worked together multiple times in the past, including some of our favorite films, the Cornetto trilogy. They play two sci-fi geeks named Clive Gollings, played by Frost, a graphic novel writer, and Graeme Willy, played by Pegg, who illustrates these novels. The two Brits come to San Diego for Comic-Con. From there, they plan to go on a road trip in order to visit the various famous UFO sites across the country. It is on this road trip where they run into an alien named Paul, voiced by Seth Rogen. Paul is on the run from a government facility where he has spent the last half century or so and is being pursued by agents trying to bring him back. The agents are played by Jason Bateman, Bill Hader, and Joe Lo Truglio. On their (mis)adventure, they also meet a woman named Ruth Buggs, played by Kristen Wiig, whose religious world view is shattered when she meets Paul. After being kidnapped, Ruth eventually joins the group and wants to help Paul get home.

This film is comprised of a really great cast of comedians that help make this sci-fi/adventure/comedy a whole lot of fun. As mentioned earlier, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost have worked together many times in the past and they always have great chemistry and play really well off of each other. We get the sense that their real life friendship only help strengthens their acting abilities, and when we see they are in a movie together, we know we are in for a good time. Their type of humor is that dry, very witty British type of humor, but with a nerdy flare this time around. Seth Rogen does a great job as well and brings a ton of laughs as the titular Paul. He did both the voice-over work and the motion-capture work for this CGI alien, which actually looks really good when translated on screen. Rogen mainly does his same old tried and true shtick, but it still works even when he's not physically on screen. His voice is noticeable the second he opens his mouth as this foul mouthed little being just trying to make it home. To go along with this acting fun, there are a few moments of exciting action between the agents and our protagonists. As the main agent, Zoil, played by Jason Bateman, is hot on the tail of Paul and his new earthling pals, he is quickly derailed when Haggard, played by Bill Hader, and O'Reilly, played by Joe Lo Truglio, show up and find out what's going on, bumbling Zoil's mission in the process. Smaller bit roles played by the likes of Sigourney Weaver, John Carroll Lynch, Jesse Plemons, and David Koechner round out this action packed road trip comedy.

It has been a while since we first watched "Paul." We remember liking it then, and we like it now even more. This is a very underrated sci-fi comedy that makes for a fantastic viewing experience, even upon reexamination. The acting fits, the comedy works, and the science fiction and action keep you engaged and set itself apart from most other comedies from this decade. It's also cool to see so many groups of different funny people coming together in one excellent cast. Check "Paul" out as soon as possible.

My Rating: 8/10
BigJ's Rating: 8/10
IMDB's Rating: 7.0/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 71%
Do we recommend this movie: Yes!
One year ago, we were watching: "Minions"

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