Last November we were lucky enough to see an early cut of the new film Paul. We reviewed the film but within a day had received two take-down requests so did the decent thing and took the review down. At the time we were promised invites to a press screening of the film so that we could review it properly but as that has failed to materialise we’re going to republish our review. Bear in mind that we saw the unfinished film and all manner of things may have changed in the meantime.
Pegg and Frost play two friends who follow up a visit to Comic Con with a trip around America’s alien hotspots. Along the way they meet Paul, a foul-mouthed and brilliantly rendered alien voiced by Seth Rogan, who is on the run from the government. Along the way they pick up Kristin Wiig in the form of a crazy Christian and end up persued by her even crazier father. They are also chased by some rednecks with almost no consequence, it’s that kind of film.
On the whole Paul is great, very funny and lighthearted, and while the humour is normally broad and often relies on alien Paul saying or doing something rude never really resorts to pure toilet humour. In fact Seth Rogan as Paul was surprisingly funny and restrained.
The film felt like a more old fashioned comedy with the leads gradually gathering various people chasing them, a bit of romance between Wiig and Pegg, and of course the now standard bromance between Frost and Pegg.
The film’s main weaknesses lay in two of the characters who appear only briefly. Sigourney Weaver’s role was presented as a big reveal despite her having very little to do and featuring heavily in the production blogs. She did get one of the biggest laughs in the film though so who am I to complain?
Blythe Danner’s character was another that was all pay-off and no set up. The emotional resonance of the climax of her storyline fell a bit flat when we were only told her back-story in a quick bit of exposition rather than shown it properly.
Bill Hader, Joe Lo Truglio and Jason Bateman were all great as secret agents, and Jane Lynch’s small role as the waitress at a UFO themed cafe was a real highlight.
Paul does suffer from the lack of Edgar Wright, and is nothing compared to the Cornetto Trilogy, but a few unnecessary parts aside is a lot of harmless fun and Greg Mottola does a good job at directing. I’m willing to look past the bizarre bit of Christianity bashing that could genuinely offend some.
After the film we were asked to filled out a survey and I selected “Would definitely recommend” so do go and see Paul when it is released on 14th February 2011.
10 points if you spott Scott Pilgrim.