By: Oberst von Berauscht (Three Beers) –
Paul is an Alien who has lived on Earth for over 60 years, and has had a subtle but important impact on nearly all areas of popular culture, but when the Government decides he’s outlived his usefulness he hits the road.While making his getaway, he hitches a ride with British nerds Graeme and Clive (Simon Pegg, and Nick Frost) who have a real close encounter… with Seth Rogen.
What follows is a thoroughly entertaining series of events, full of Sci-Fi jokes and references so obscure as to baffle even the most educated of geeks.The film hits its rhythm early on, and for the most part manages to maintain a sense of hilarity in every scene.
Aside from its sci-fi status, the film is ultimately a Buddy movie, and half the fun is watching these strange beings road-trip across the West.Clive and Graeme are loveable losers, and the too-cool Paul serves as their foil.Later, they meet up with Ruth Buggs, an ultra religious girl whose faith is shaken by the appearance of the Alien.
Another excellent aspect of the film is the CGI work for the character Paul, which is detailed and emotive, and after only a short period at the beginning is easily accepted as a living creature.Seth Rogan’s solid voice performance helps lend believability to the character as well.Anyone who worried this would be a weakness should find their worries alleviated.
And that is unfortunately where the film hits a serious snag.The anti-religious humor in the middle of the film reaches a fever-pitch, resulting in unnecessarily low blows.While some of the vitriol is biting but fair criticisms of blind faith and creationist ideologies, the filmmakers at times cross the line from satire into crude insults.The problem is that it feels unnecessary and serves only to incite anger from religious conservatives.When we lower ourselves to cheap shots we start to look no better than Fred Phelps and his brainwashed minions.
The film’s greatest weakness is that, for all its ambition and epic comedic scope, it feels short on big laughs.While you’ll find yourself laughing quite a bit throughout the film, no single moment stands out as a classic comedic centerpiece.One would think that, with the abundance of science fiction films to parody, they’d have found something new to point out or some inventive new take on the subject.Ultimately, there is very little new in Paul, and while it may be a solid comedy, it falls short of classic status.
Worth probing around for.
Bonus Drinking Game
Take a Drink: every time someone faints (double shot if it is two or more people).
Take a Drink: for every E.T. reference (if I said Star Wars you’d die).