Lincoln’s Movie Night: Paul


Walking into Paul, you may ask yourself, “Am I seeing Greg Mottola’s film or Pegg & Frost’s film?” Walking out, the answer is hardly definitive, but what is, is that this is the best geek comedy since Scott Pilgrim vs The World. Ironically, it might be even more unselfconsciously geeky than that film, but by putting out a mainstream face in its advertising campaign, it is much more likely to draw an audience.

The movie is, put simply, the story of three nerds on a road trip. Sure, one of them happens to be a three-foot alien grey, but let’s not split hairs. Starting out at the nerd-mecca that is Comic-con, we’re introduced to writer Clive Gollings (Nick Frost) and illustrator Graeme Willy (Simon Pegg). It’s their first time in America, and they’re doing it properly, leaving Comic-con and going on a road trip through the major US UFO sites. Naturally, it isn’t long before they run into the titular hero (voiced wonderfully by Seth Rogen), are charmed into helping him, and find themselves on the run from government agents (Jason Bateman, wonderfully dark, Bill Hader, absolutely insane, and Joe Lo Truglio, nerdy and immature), angry, homophobic rednecks, and the father of a sheltered woman (Kristen Wiig), who unwillingly ends up along for the absurdist ride.

From rude science fiction writers at conventions to conversations that seem to consist of nothing but movie quotes, the movie is familiar from minute one. These jokes, clearly coming from Pegg and Frost’s hearts, are the ones that work the best. It’s when the film strays into raunchy, creative-swearing territory that things fall a little flat. I enjoy a good combination of four letter words as much as the next guy, but when they break the flow of a movie and are good for a cheap laugh at best, they might have best been left out.

The character of Paul is the star here. It’s been said elsewhere that he’s one of the best CG characters since Gollum, and I’m hard pressed to disagree. While rude and likely to remove his pants a moment’s notice, he is the heart of the movie. Some surprisingly sweet and emotional turns by Rogen make him less of a walking punchline and more a living, breathing part of the cast.

The cast is excellent, which, with all of the comedic gold gathered here, is no surprise. Surprise cameos (one of the best on the other end of a phone line…) and brilliantly referential moments make it seem like everyone is having a blast. And it’s no wonder. This self-assured and geeky film has a lot to offer.

Posted on March 19, 2011 at 09:00 by Lincoln Eddy · Permalink
In: Movies, Reviews