Paul (2011) – A Review by Film Nerd

Director: Greg Mottola

Cast: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Seth Rogen, Kristen Wiig, Jason Bateman, Jeffrey Tambor, Jane Lynch, Blythe Danner

Synopsis: Two English geeks are on a trip across America, starting with the infamous San Diego Comic Con and then following a trail of the most famous UFO hotspots.    When along they way they meet a genuine interstellar alien, their adventure takes a whole new turn.

A review by Film Nerd.

This is a film almost entirely designed for the themes of this blog.   Starting at Comic Con with an almost loving homage to the geek Mecca, with well-known geeks Pegg and Frost front and centre, it makes it very clear what the tone of this film is about.   It is not necessarily about new ways of making film, and it is not even parody of geek culture.   It embraces the source for comedy that celebrates these forms of entertainment rather than mocking.

The simple fact is that though this films stands in its own right as a clever comedy, the sheer number of pop-culture and classic sci-fi references present in this film are staggering.    So if you are the type of person, that, like me, would at least once in this life-time be able to attend the key San Diego even that opens this film, then chances are that these extra film references (and cameos…. no spoilers in this review), will take the comedy to an entirely new level.

I don’t think that the trailer gives the film enough credit for how clever it can be.   Yes, the titular alien Paul, voiced by Seth Rogen, is crude, obnoxious, and spends a good portion of the film naked, but this is not a film that often goes for cheap laughs, and it finds a balance with the more heart-warming elements of the film quite admirably.   It is not hard for Pegg and Frost to act as long-term friends, it is well on record that is indeed the case.   Showing how Paul can alter that dynamic however is entirely believable and the interesting addition of Wiig’s love interest adds yet further dimension.   A final mix of believer, religious sceptic, jealous mate, and a pursuit by one capable and two incapable agents makes for what is in the end an original and entertaining film.

Like most comedies, some gags do fall flat, and there are occasional gags that fall flat that may stem from the skewed Pegg/Frost humour.   These moments are few though, so sit back, have your mental movie diary ready to pick each film reference and enjoy the “Trek”.

4 stars out of 5

Paul on IMDB

Paul on Rotten Tomatoes

Trailer [youtube=]

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