Paul movie review – Aliens on the run in USA

Posted on 18 March 2011
By Miv Evans
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This is a sci-fi, buddy road movie comedy starring a bad-ass alien and spoofd every alien film ever made.

It’s not side-splittingly hilarious but there are plenty of funny lines and in a cinematic age when comedies can’t find their funny bones, this is a mighty achievement. And it’s released in the US today.

Graeme Willy (Simon Pegg) and Clive Gollings (Nick Frost) are Brit buddies on vacation in America.
They’re on their way back from a sci-fi comic convention when they’re car-jacked by an alien called Paul (voice by Seth Rogan) who has been held prisoner at a top-secret military base for 60 years but has now escaped.

He is being chased by federal agents so Graeme and Clive decide to help him and design a plan to return their new friend to his spaceship so that he can finally go home.

Almost all the humor emanates from Paul, who is foul-mouthed and vulgar, but this bad behavior is easily explained when we realize that he smokes far too much pot.

His side-kicks, Graeme and Clive, are great sparring partners and are both likeable enough, but the three never generate a sufficiently dynamic chemistry to elevate the film into the complete experience it could have been.

There’s an attempt to introduce conflict in the camp by making Clive jealous of Graeme’s relationship with Paul, but as the gay element has already been dealt with, it makes little sense.

In true caper style, the number of people who are chasing our three heroes increase with the number of blunders they stumble upon.

Some are a little clichéd but the dead-pan Federal Agent leading the chase (Jason Bateman) is the perfect foil for the craziness that’s exploding around him. He plays his hand in a wonderfully understated manner but at the same time creates his own kind of crazy, which is really quite brilliant.

There doesn’t appear to be any clear message in this film, it doesn’t go that deep, but there is an interesting social comment made in a scene with Graeme, Clive and a US police officer. The two are frantic that the officer will check their van and find Paul, but all the officer wants to know is how the British police can shoot people if they’re not armed with guns. It’s a very good question, and if Paul had been there he’d have had an inappropriate answer and then, if he felt like it, he’d have mooned.

Rated R for lots of bad language from you-know-who.

UK – 14 February 2011
Canada – 18 March 2011
USA – 18 March 2011