Thursday, March 24, 2011

Paul - **1/2

Paul, both the character and the film itself, is kind of a one-trick pony. Paul is an alien who crash-lands on Earth in the 40s and escapes from the government in present day into the hands of two British nerds (Simon Pegg and Nick Frost), in from England for Comic-Con and a road trip to all of the extra-terrestrial-related sites in the American Southwest.

It's a pretty nice little movie until Pegg and Frost actually meet Paul, who essentially just acts contrary to most on-screen aliens have in the cinematic past, which would be refreshing if it didn't mean simply swearing, getting naked, and getting high. That still might sound satisfying enough, but it honestly just gets old really quickly. Aside from a few random inserted jokes, like a flashback to 1980 that has Paul giving Steven Spielberg some advice on what E.T. should be like, Paul doesn't really offer up much that is worth your while. And aside from a handful of top-notch Star Wars references, Pegg and Frost don't really do too much either. There are some great supporting performances from Jason Bateman, Joe Lo Truglio, and Bill Hader, as well as an amazing cameo by Jeffrey Tambor as an asshole of a sci-fi novelist doing a signing at Comic-Con... "Did you buy a book? Well, then get the fuck out of here."

Paul really isn't a bad movie; it's enjoyable enough, but it's just kind of bland. It's not that the jokes fail, so much as the jokes are not even there to begin with, and there isn't enough plot, character depth, or just general originality in the film for it to be lacking in humor.


  1. Why is it that we can't seem to make a decent movie about aliens anymore? Is the genre just one of those wells we've pumped dry or has our image of what is alien simply become two-sided; little grey men (Paul) or "Here-to-completely-strip-mine-your-planet-of-some-essential-element-missing-from-our-own-universe/system-generally-meaning-humans-or-having-to-do-with-the-eradication-of-the-human-race-in-order-to-obtain-said-elements"? Where did imagination go?

  2. Sounds like there was at least one person that didn't come out for Mars Needs Moms last weekend. Don't worry though... As soon as I muster up the courage, find the time, and forget everything else that ten dollars gets me, I'll see it and let you know how it is. Other than that, I don't really have an answer for you. I'd like to think you're wrong, but recent years don't lend that argument much support. The only original alien concept I can think of in the last few years is District 9, but you stipulated "decent," which rules that out.

    Full disclosure... I didn't think Mars Needs Moms looked half bad when I saw the trailer for it a few months ago. I was actually planning on checking it out until I saw that it was universally despised, but I'll probably still give it a shot, even though it was made with that creepy Robert Zemeckis animation style.