Paul Directed by: Greg Mottola Cast: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Jason Bateman, (voice of) Seth Rogen Running Time: 1 hr 46 mins Rating: R Release Date: March 18, 2011
PLOT: Two British comic-book geeks (Pegg and Frost) travel to the U.S., start with comic-con and then encounter an alien outside Area 51.
WHO'S IT FOR? If you loved Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz and Superbad, you need to lower your expectations a little. It's filthy talk that makes this R. For the most part, it feels like basic laughs from professionals who know what they are doing.
EXPECTATIONS: Great team of people that I will always see made this movie.
ACTORS: Simon Pegg as Graeme Willy: Graeme apparently wants love. We eventually learn this. Otherwise, he seems the same as Clive. The sloppy red hair and slight belly makes Pegg more Ricky Gervais (the old one) than usual. The delivery doesn't seem the same. I find it fine to hang out with him, but rooting for him doesn't hold up. Score: 6
Nick Frost as Clive Gollings: Um, man, that's a big guy. Frost is thick and not in the funny way. It seems Clive's main thing is that he's jealous Graeme gets a head start. While that does provide a moment of humor, it doesn't last. It's really just time wasted that we could have been having fun with Clive, but instead we're stuck with him pouting. Score: 5
Jason Bateman as Agent Zoil: He's straight-faced and tough almost the entire time. It really seemed that when Paul jumped on Zoil that there was a reason for it. I guess not. That was very odd. At the end, Bateman's delivery says this character from being normal. And yes, his full name made me laugh. I won't ruin the joke for you here. Score: 7
Seth Rogen as Paul (voice): Pistachios. That's the one pointless conversation that made me truly laugh with Paul. Rogen just doesn't fit for me here. Yes, I get it. Thanks the joke. An alien who sounds like Rogen? That's crazy! But more importantly, it's supposed to be funny and it really isn't for the most part. Score: 5
Rest of Cast: Wiig ... come on. You used to be hilarous. Now, not so much. Here, she's a bible-thumper who finally is given the freedom to swear. So, she swears, and swears and swears. Bill Hader and Joe Lo Truglio provide laughs as agent, especially when playing hide and seek. David Koechner can act like a red-neck, that doesn't mean I'm going to laugh. Sigourney Weaver's presence is cool, but again, not funny. Score: 5
TALKING: There are few moments that push the jokes to another level. One tiny moment I enjoy was when Graeme says "Get off me rapist," don't worry it's said in an adorable way. It made me laugh uncomfortably. There wasn't nearly enough of those moments. Instead it was obvious jokes like Blythe Danner saying, "Oh no, my weed," after her house blows up, because she's old. "Get away from her you bitch" comes back, but I don't think many people will be impressed. Score: 5
SIGHTS: Surprisingly good special effects. The alien Paul looks pretty impressive. Visually, the road trip doesn't hold up for very long. Having Paul jump across the state line is lame. Having Paul, Clive and Graeme dance after a night of hanging out, also lame. The farm house blowing up, pretty cool. More lames, than cools is never a good sign. Score: 5
SOUNDS: Kind of lame. "Don't Break Me Down" is used and doesn't feel fresh at all, because it isn't. The song "Another Girl Another Planet" by The Only Ones, starts things off. It's a fun start if it's the only alien based song. It's just the beginning though. Score: 5
BEST SCENE: The first time Clive wakes up and discovers Paul it's pretty amusing, because he's trying to play catch up with who Paul is and what Graeme already knows.
ENDING: Wow, um ... almost no comedy? Really? I wasn't feeling it.
QUESTIONS: Why didn't Sigourney Weaver shoot her gun instead of letting people hit her? Why is she holding a gun like she's never done it before? Are we supposed to care when Paul saves things/people?
REWATCHABILITY: I don't think so. If it was in a second-run theater and someone offered to buy my beers, then I am in.
When you put Simon Pegg and Nick Frost in front of a computer to write, you expect a really good script. When you put Greg Mottala (Superbad) behind the camera to direct, you expect. Plus, it's not just Pegg and Frost in this film. There's Rogen, Bateman, Wiig, Hader, Weaver and Koechner ... you expect.
I wasn't overboard expectations. I didn't go around shouting to the neighbors that this HAS to be the funniest movie of all-time. I just expected creative laughs. While I did chuckle, I didn't bust a gut. Not once. It was easy laughs. Predictable laughs. At it's best it is a road trip, hang out movie. It's surprising that we haven't had foreigners (in this case British) do a road trip movie in the states more often. That concept works because we can see it new through their eyes.
Whenever it's not tripping ... when they go for romance, action or even (gulp) compassion it doesn't work. For example, the joke about three tits (an obvious, easy steal from Total Recall) is run into the ground. Paul consistently references sci-fi movies. Specifically, they keep pointing to Steven Spielberg. Close in Counters, E.T. and even Indiana Jones. Some of them hit, some are simply familiar, not funny. I understand it is technically a joke that Paul wants Reese's Pieces, my hope was that this movie would be better than that. Anyone can make a basic E.T.'s favorite candy joke, right? In Hot Fuzz they made a joke out of loving Bad Boys II, they didn't simply bring it up.
Paul will give you some laughs, but it also gets stuck, and feels a little dated, especially on the big stuff like caring. I will happening look forward to all of these entertainers showing up again, I just never felt like they fully showed up here.
FINAL SCORE: 6/10