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Monday, 14 March 2011

Paul (Contains Mild Spoilers)

Part sci fi, part comedy caper, part old-fashioned American road-trip buddy movie - Paul has something for everyone! Before I go into it in detail (or whatever) I want to highlight a few coincidental similarities between this movie and the game I've been playing all week, Destroy All Humans: There's the wise-cracking alien, the thought-implants, the female villain overseeing events - all of which have been staples of a decent alien movie for years. The fact that these similarities stood out to me may be because I've over-saturated myself with alien stuff recently. 

But anyway, on to the movie itself!Paul follows two British nerds, Graeme and Clive, as they trek across the most famous UFO hotspots in the States while visiting Comic-Con. 

Just outside Area 51 they encounter foul-mouthed alien slacker Paul. Paul has escaped from military custody and just wants to go home. As they set out on a road trip like no other the trio face threats from Men In Black, state police and gun-toting Christians. It's an hour and a half of pure cheeky laughs and some very tender moments, along with lashings of sci fi nerd in-jokes - some blatant, some so niche that you'd be forgiven for not noticing them at all! 

It's a great little movie which satisfies to the last minute. Pegg and Frost are on top form, both as actors and as writers. There's a pretty smart supporting cast, especially Jason Bateman's MIB Agent Zoil (look out for a joke about his name that went over the heads of many).

But the stand-out performance in the film is the title character himself. Paul, voiced by Seth Rogen, is wonderful. He's rude, disgusting, sweary - a perfect interpretation of what an alien being might be like having spent sixty years socialising with American soldiers.

What makes this movie so charming is how it manages to throw away the obvious joke in favour of some little reference to an oft-little-known sci fi movie from yesteryear. It's laugh-out-loud funny on the surface, with all the best lines coming from our hero, but filled to the brim with plenty to keep the nerds happy too. And it's just short enough not to begin dragging on.

More than any of the other movies penned by Pegg and Frost, Paul is the most "America-friendly" (hardly surprisingly), yet still manages to feel British to its bones. Think Men In Black meets Dumb And Dumber with swearing and you're almost there. A perfect date movie for a couple of comic book nerds - that's if we can ever get a date.