"PAUL" is Just The Right Mixture of Crude Humor and Science Fiction [REVIEW]
Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, England's comic wonder-duo have managed to slam their heads together creating another pop culture laden, foul mouthed comedy. Pegg and Frost slid under the radar with their cult classic BBC program, "SPACED", an under appreciated, yet, often hilarious show that highlighted their abilities to write quality comedy. Fast forward a few years and, together, they wrote and starred in "Shaun of the Dead", a horror comedy hit that announced their presence to American audiences. A couple more years go by and they hit it out of the park again with the over-the-top, uber-violent ode to action films, "Hot Fuzz".
They have shown their love of action and horror films and now the wonder-duo has turned their focus on science fiction films.
Graeme (Pegg) and Clive (Frost) are a couple of alien aficionados who love all things sci-fi and anything having to deal with extra-terrestrial life. The two BFF's head to the mecca of geekdom, San Diego's Comic-Con, where they brush shoulders with their brethren. They also get to meet their favorite author, Adam Shadowchild (played to dickhead perfection by Jeffrey Tambor).
Comic-Con unfortunately has to end and the two embark on their dream vacation, the one they have been talking about their whole lives. They rent an RV and traverse the less traveled American southwest to visit a slew of famous sites where there have been UFO and other alien encounters ultimately culminating at Area 51 in Roswell, New Mexico.
Our geeky British chaps never make it to the hallowed ground in Roswell because they run into "PAUL", a cigarette smoking, foul mouthed little alien who can turn invisible through a camouflage cloaking device, bring small dead animals back to life, and roll a fatty boom batty of high grade government cheeba. Paul (voiced to hilarious perfection by Seth Rogen) crash landed here back in the 40's and has been helping the government and Hollywood ever since. It is mentioned a few times that he has really had a significant impact on pop culture over the past sixty years. Unfortunately for Paul the government seems to want more from him now and he is out on the lam, heading north to reunite with his boys from home.
The two geeks and their new alien homeboy hit the road with a wide variety of folks hot on their trail. In pursuit is the driven Secret Service Agent Zoil (Jason Bateman) along with his two idiotic cohorts. They also seem to have a knack for running into a couple of homophobic hicks and they also have a pissed off Christian who wields a bible in one hand and a shotgun in the other. The man aforementioned is Moses Buggs and he is on a mission from God to get his daughter Ruth (Kristin Wiig) back from our protagonist trio.
The road trip movie may be overdone but there are some fun, fresh elements here. And, like any Pegg/ Frost flick, the pop culture references are spit at the audience at an alarming rate. They have a knack for borrowing from source material they love (Tarantino does it too and he is a genius) and it is nothing but fun when you pick up on the references to "Close Encounters of the Third Kind", "Aliens", and the Holy Grail of science fiction films, "Star Wars".
"PAUL" is a nice little breath of fresh air. A crude comedy laden with foul language and some great gags but it also has a heart. You find yourself rooting for the characters and that is always a good indicator that the filmmakers did their jobs right.
All in all, you should go see "PAUL".
*** 1/2 (out of *****)