Review: PAUL (2011) | Casey's Movie Mania | Movie Reviews, Features & Others

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Review: PAUL (2011)

RATING: 2.5/5

Fancy for a sci-fi comedy that tickle your funny bones? Among the latest DVD movie releases I come across is PAUL. Here's the review:

From clever parody takes of zombie genre in 2004's SHAUN OF THE DEAD and action genre in 2007's HOT FUZZ, renowned British comedy team Simon Pegg and Nick Frost are now attempting to spoof the much-filmed alien genre in PAUL. Except this time, the absence of their regular director Edgar Wright is glaringly obvious here. Instead, director Greg Mottola (2009's ADVENTURELAND) has taken over the directing reign and fashions PAUL in a goofy E.T.-like style with lots of sci-fi references and of course, a whole lot of profanity-filled dialogues. The result is an entertaining farce but largely generic movie that doesn't quite hit the full bar.

Best buddies Graeme Willy (Pegg) and Clive Gollings (Frost) are die-hard sci-fi enthusiasts who both hailed from UK, are very excited for the first-ever trip to U.S. where they visit the San Diego's Comic-Con convention. They meet their favorite sci-fi author, Adam Shadowchild (Jeffrey Tambor) before they continue their cross-country journey via RV to tour some of the most famous UFO hotspots in the American Southwest. Both of them have longed to see the famed Area 51 with their own eyes, and their wishes somehow come true. Except only in an unlikely way they never see it coming.

One night, somewhere deep in the Nevada desert, they witnesses a car accident. They pull over their RV and check the condition of the driver. Much to their surprise, the driver happens to be an actual extraterrestrial being who calls himself as Paul (voice of Seth Rogen). Clive is the first one who passed out, leaving Graeme shaking in fear. But Paul doesn't seem threatening at all as he explains to him that he's been spending the last 60 years in Area 51. He's been locked up in the care of the U.S. Government for far too long, and he's starting to get homesick. All he wanted is to give him a ride to a place where he can make contact to get back to his mother ship.

And so begins their long journey where Willy and Gollings get to know more about Paul. At the same time, Special Agent Zoil (Jason Bateman) of the FBI is hot on their heels to recapture the alien. Not only that, Graeme and Clive have also become unwitting kidnappers, as they held Ruth (Kristen Wiig) in captivity especially after she witnesses the appearance of Paul.

For an alien parody filled with endless sci-fi movie references ranging from E.T., STAR TREK, PREDATOR, MAC AND ME and of course ALIENS, it's rather surprising that PAUL remains as routine as it goes. Despite the script written by Simon Pegg and Nick Frost themselves, their gleefully obscene story is decidedly average at best. Greg Mottola's direction is pedestrian, while the pacing is occasionally patchy.

Still PAUL has its few moments of fun. Simon Pegg and Nick Frost are likable enough to watch them acting all doofus, while Seth Rogen almost steals the limelight providing the voice talent as the wisecracking pint-sized alien Paul. Watching him acting all sarcastic filled with colorful profanities is certainly the movie's highlight here. And speaking of colorful profanities, Jason Bateman's no-nonsense portrayal as the relentless Special Agent Zoil is quite an entertaining character to watch for. I mean, the way he hisses "Motherf**kin' tittysuckin' two-balled bitch!" angrily in one scene when he gets too frustrated chasing his target. Oh, and do pay attention to the revelation of his Special Agent Zoil's character which is unexpectedly referenced over 1992's disease drama, LORENZO'S OIL. The rest of the supporting cast are equally credible, with Kristen Wiig given a game performance as the God-fearing daughter who eventually let loose of herself and starts to curse and all. Then there's an inspiring cameo of Sigourney Weaver who appears in the final third-act scene as Special Agent Zoil's mysterious boss. The inclusion of Weaver is of course a homage of sorts to her iconic Ellen Ripley character in ALIEN quadrilogy.

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