Wednesday, August 24, 2011


I really wanted to like "Paul" more than I did.  For the most part this film, written and starring Nick Frost and Simon Pegg, is very affable.  I specially like the beginning when we meet our two heroes at comic con.  They are on a vacation and decide to go cross country and look at all the UFO related sites along the way.  They have a fun, scruffy chemistry and at this point I'm willing to follow them.  It's on the road they meet Paul who is the standard looking big headed alien type with the very non standard gruff voice of Seth Rogen.  After a few incidents of fainting they decide to help Paul on his escape even though he's being followed by a shadowy man in black and his two dofus assistants.  Along the way they pick up a half blind religious zealot played by Kristen Wiig.

Ok, here is where the film lost me.  I understand it, but for such a likable film it took some surprisingly mean shots at those with faith.  The character Ruth Buggs is a shrill parody of what a "bible thumper" is suppose to be until "cured" by Paul.  Literally, Paul not only gives her all the information he has but he heals her other eye so now she can see clearly.  She becomes a free living free cussing (if not expertly using the profanity) soul.  Again, I can understand it.  For one thing there has always been a "thing" between the very religious versus geeks.  I think every geek has a story like mine where one of my dad's friends wanted to save my soul by burning my Michael Moorcock books.  Still, to equate all faith with such prodnoses is in itself a sin.  Also, I'm uncomfortable with the idea that advance technology means lack of faith.  I have the feeling that when we do meet aliens we'll have to deal with some rather exotic theology.  The uptick though, is that this just a rough section that shouldn't have played that way in a film that wants to be basically a warm puppy with beer and weed.

Overall, it's a fun film.  Paul is a well realized bit of CGI, and a very well realized character.  Simon and Nick are great fun.  Just over all it lacks the "umph" to be a really funny film.  Sort of a hazard when making a film about slackers is that your film itself can end up well slightly slack.  When added with the one sour note (at least to me) and "Paul" winds up as something I'd watch once but wouldn't really seek out again.

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