Paul 2011 Movie Scene Simon Pegg as Graeme, Nick Frost as Clive and Seth Rogen as Paul, the alien standing next to a road and looking at a dead bird

Paul [2011]

Behind the generic title Paul hides an entertaining blend of science fiction and comedy with an English twist. Is this the best crossover ever or what? On the one side, we have Simon Pegg and Nick Frost of their Shaun of the Dead fame, and on the other Greg Mottola who was behind Superbad. And to spice things up, Seth Rogen plays the alien, what more to want from a movie? Perhaps a great dialogue and a lot of references to other popular science fiction movies? You’ve got it, man! When they started talking about Predator, I got a boner.  

Although I gloriously ejaculated when they engaged in a little bit of religion bashing. It’s those little things that make Paul such a fun movie with a huge replay value. At its heart, it’s an adventure movie following a familiar formula. Two very British nerds go to the US of A and stumble upon an alien. I mean, the jokes are already writing themselves at this point. What happens is the usual thing that would happen in any big science fiction movie complete with action scenes. And with a budget of $40 million, they could make them look pretty good.

Paul taps into the whole alien thing leaning into usual concepts like probing, abductions, and others. So, if you’re interested in this subject, and let’s face it, who isn’t, you’re going to have a great time. Since the director is Greg Mottola, I should probably tell you that this isn’t a non-stop-laughs comedy like Superbad. It’s more focused on the characters, their friendship, and the main story. The pacing is rather deliberate, meticulously engaging the viewer with a clear sense of escalation. For a movie that starts so slowly you won’t believe the over-the-top ending.

Graeme and Clive are best friends and science fiction fans. They’ve traveled all the way from England to attend the annual San Diego Comic-Con. This is their first time in the country and they’re eager to visit all the UFO hotspots, including Roswell, New Mexico. So, they rent an RV and start this road trip that’s going to turn out to be the road trip of their lives. Mostly because Graeme and Clive are going to find out that the aliens do exist. And they’re going to get high with them.

The on-screen chemistry between Pegg and Frost was sublime and when you add Rogen to that mix you get an explosion of positive vibes. Opposite of this dynamic trio we have Jason Bateman as a tough FBI agent and a host of other, familiar actors. The CGI was excellent and the alien looks quite believable. I like the art department’s decision to make his eyes look more like ours, it was the right one. Paul is a movie that’s going to put you in a good mood. It’s going to awaken your inner child, especially if you’re a fan of science fiction, movies, and video games.

Wholesome, entertaining, and just so damn well-crafted, I feel like it’s one of those movies I’m going to be watching all my life. In that sense, it reminded me of Galaxy Quest, a more straightforward love letter to the Star Trek franchise. I’m just going to notice that it’s superior to Fanboys, a movie about Star Wars fans. And not just because I’m a diehard Trekkie. 

Director: Greg Mottola

Writers: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost

Cast: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Jeremy Owen, Jeffrey Tambor, Jane Lynch, Seth Rogen, Jason Bateman

Fun Facts: The scene in the Little A’le’inn diner while Graeme and Clive were visiting Roswell is based on an actual event. Pegg and Frost drove the route their characters took before filming and were met with the talkative waitress and cheeky locals.


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