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Paul

Reviewed by Galen Strickland

I have enjoyed almost everything Simon Pegg and Nick Frost have done, from Spaced to Shaun of the Dead to Hot Fuzz, even Frost's Hyperdrive was wacky fun even though too repetitive comedically. Now they bring us the story of two geeky guys fresh from their first ComicCon, on a road trip to all the hot UFO spots across the southwest. While near Area 51, they encounter the title character, a fugitive from the secretive government facility that has kept him locked away for more than sixty years. It has the makings of a classic nerd comedy, and yet...

It's just not very funny. I didn't laugh out loud at all, and only snickered a couple of times, usually when they used an appropriate line from a classic SF film. There are references from Star Wars, Star Trek, Aliens, Close Encounters, Indiana Jones and even Jaws. Those generally worked. What fell flat every single time were the multiple references to anal probes and everyone's assumption that Pegg and Frost's characters were gay.

The film's best performance is by Kristen Wiig as Ruth Buggs, and yet it also points out the exaggerated lengths they went to while mining for laughs. I'm not a Christian, but even I was offended by the way she and her father were portrayed when they were first introduced. I know many Christians (nearly everyone else in my family for instance) who retain their faith and yet can still embrace the possibility that science has some answers not conceived of when the Bible was written. Bishop Ussher claimed the Earth was created in 4004 B.C. (thus just over 6000 years old), and some fundamentalists still hold to that belief, and yet Ruth claims it is just 4000 years old. That either makes the writers lazy or else they were attempting to imply Ruth was extremely dumb. And then when she encounters Paul her reaction is to throw out all her beliefs as if morality means nothing and anything goes from that point on.

Just very lazy writing from people I usually expect to entertain me. At most, this should have been just a DVD rental, and I wish I hadn't wasted the time and money, even though it was just matinee price. Obviously many disagree, since it's RottenTomatoes rating is at 71%.

 

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Director
Greg Mottola

Screenplay
Nick Frost
Simon Pegg

Released
March 18, 2011

Cast
Simon Pegg
Nick Frost
Seth Rogen
Kristen Wiig
Jason Bateman
Bill Hader
Joe Lo Truglio
Blythe Danner
Sigourney Weaver
Jane Lynch
Jeffrey Tambor

Full Credits at IMDb

Available on DVD and Blu-Ray