Blu-ray REVIEW: Paul (2011)

By special request of J, from Resurrection Songs!


 

PAUL_0001PAUL (2011 Universal)

Directed by Greg Mottola

You know how most comedies today put all the best stuff in the trailers, and the movies are crap? Paul is the opposite. The trailers sucked (Paul mooning out of a bus window?) but the movie is so much better. To my surprise and joy, Paul is a satisfying sci-fi-comedy with witty dialogue and great performances.

A lot of people (myself included) are sick of Seth Rogen, but Paul succeeds both because of and in spite of him. Simon Pegg and Nick Frost co-wrote and co-starred in a great movie here. It succeeds in combining characters that you actually care about with outrageous situations. Throw in some damn fine sci-fi references and superior casting, and now we’re cooking.

It is a science fiction nerd’s dream. Remember that “Homage-o-meter” that was on the DVDs of Spaced? You could do the same thing with Paul. From little bits of dialogue here and there (“Punch it!”) to flat out homages (re-enacting the Kirk-Gorn fight on the same mountain) this movie is loaded with loving references to the best of the best of the best.

What about the story?

Remember that “UFO” that crashed in Roswell in 1947? Turns out, that was Paul. He crash landed on Earth and has been here ever since, but he just wants to get home. See, the big nasty US government wants to cut out his brain, to gain his powers. In the decades since his arrival here on Earth, his image has been leaked out to us in the form of movies (great Speilberg voice cameo), so as to not shock us when contact is eventually revealed to the world. But before brain surgery and full disclosure, Paul escapes and runs into our two heroes, straight on their way from Comic-Con. Thus begins our sci-fi-bromance-road-trip comedy.

Before too long, Paul, Clive (Frost) and Graeme (Pegg) are on the run from the CIA, with others complicating the mix. Two “hillbilly types” and a Bible thumper are also chasing them for their own reasons. Along the way they meet Ruth (Kristin Wiig), a sheltered Christian girl who has her faith shaken by Paul, but provides much needed help. And let’s not forget Keith Nash! (I want a Keith Nash spinoff movie!)

The reason this works are many. One: the humour is not too outrageous as it is with many of today’s comedies. It combines the right amount of emotion with the juvenile humour. Two: the plot twists and turns. Its carefully woven elements all rhyme, emerging at the appropriate times. Lastly, all the characters are actual characters. It seems character is a writing skill lost in many of today’s movies. Well, Nick Frost and Simon Pegg do not lack that problem. Graeme and Clive are as well written and fully fleshed out as any classic comedy characters.

Jason Bateman, Bill Hader, Joe Lo Truglio, Sigourney Weaver, and the mighty, immortal Jeffrey Tambor (as pompous sci-fi author Adam Shadowchild) all lend their skills to this wonderful movie.

Bonus features are fun. I particularly enjoyed seeing how the live action stuff was filmed since Paul himself was all CG. There are also two cuts of the movie – both equally entertaining.

4.5/5 stars

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29 comments

  1. I feel like this movie didn’t get its due. I loved it. I think my favourite part is when Jason Bateman shoots his car radio saying “That was a boring conversation anyway”.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes perfect example of the homages within! I liked his character anyway. I won’t spoil the name for readers. Jason Bateman hasn’t found the best movies to use his talents, generally. We watched that Identity Thief a few weeks ago and could not make it to the end.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Really enjoyed this movie! So glad to see some support of it! I think most people who say they don’t like actually didn’t watch it. Probably saw the cg alien crackin wise in, as you rightfully pointed out, the unfortunate trailer. Basic rule if Pegg/Frost are together, watch it! Put in Fanboys after this movie for a great geek night.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the awesome review! I might have to differ with you on Fanboys. Perhaps it was my expectation, perhaps it was the overlong wait for the movie to FIIIINALLY come out, but I gave it 3/5.

      Like

    1. Wish I could just loan you the Blu-ray Geoff!

      I’m a big fan of Mr. Bluth Sr. Have you ever seen a legal drama called And Justice For All? It was required viewing in highschool. Anyway, he was in that way back in the day, what a great film. You’re out of order!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Having been a massive fan of ‘Spaced’, there have been times since when I’ve worried a little about Simon Pegg. ‘Run Fat Boy Run’? Pur-lease! But ‘Paul’ restored my belief. In Pegg and in smart-arse aliens.

    Thanks for a great review, Mike.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hear you! I bought ‘Run Fatboy Run’ because how could I go wrong with both Simon Pegg and Hank Azaria? I watched it once…and it took two sittings to do it.

      Thanks for the awesome comment!

      Like

  4. Reckon I’ll need to find a way to see this now (will search Netflix later … failing that I’ll need to hit up Amazon) – I was always put off a bit by the trailer … just didn’t look that special. Anyway, great review and thanks for posting!

    Liked by 1 person

        1. Avoid Run Fatboy Run! We were just talking about that one earlier. Hank Azaria may be in it, but avoid.

          Stick to the Pegg/Frost films only. There are four:

          Shaun of the Dead
          Hot Fuzz
          Paul
          The World’s End

          And of course two seasons of the British TV series Spaced.

          Like

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