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Paul is out of this world
on August 19, 2011
You know how most comedies today put all the best stuff in the trailers, and the movies are crap? Paul is the opposite. The trailers were not that great (Paul mooning out of a bus window) but the movie is so much better!
I've watched the different versions of Paul three times now in three weeks. It's that kind of movie. Every time you watch it, you see more stuff. Be it a laugh or an homage, this was an incredibly well written script with great performances from the stars and co-stars.
I've been getting kinda sick of Seth Rogen lately, but Paul succeeds both because of and in spite of him. Simon Pegg and Nick Frost wrote and starred in a great movie here. It succeeds in combining characters that you actually care about with outrageous situations. Throw in some damn fine sci-fi references and performances and now we're cooking.
It is a science fiction nerd's dream. Remember that "Homage-o-meter" that was on the DVDs of Spaced? You could do the same thing with Paul. From little bits of dialogue here and there ("Punch it!") to flat out homages (re-enacting the Kirk-Gorn fight on the same mountain) this movie is loaded with loving references to the best of the best of the best.
Paul crash landed on Earth in 1947 and just wants to get home, before the US government cuts out his brain to gain his powers. In the decades since, his image has been leaked out to us in the form of movies (great Speilberg voice cameo) so as to not shock us when contact is revealed. Paul has escaped and runs into our two heroes, straight on their way from Comic-Con.
Before too long, Paul, Clive and Graeme are on the run from the CIA with others complicating the mix. Two "hillbilly types" and a bible thumper all chase them for their own reasons. Along the way they meet Ruth, a Christian girl who has her faith shaken by Paul, but provides much needed help. And let's not forget Keith Nash! (I want a Keith Nash spinoff movie!)
The reason this works are many. One, the humour is not too outrageous as it is with many of today's comedies. It combines the right amount of emotion with shock. Two, the plot twists and turns. Its carefully woven elements all rhyme and come back at appropriate times. Lastly, all the characters are actual characters. It seems character is a writing skill lost in many of today's movies. Well, Nick Frost and Simon Pegg do not lack that problem. Graeme and Clive are as well written and fully fleshed out as any classic comedy characters.
Jason Bateman, Kristin Wiig, Bill Hader, Joe Lo Truglio, Sigourney Weaver, and Jeffrey Tambor all lend their skills to this wonderful movie.
Bonus features are fun. I particularly enjoyed seeing how the live action stuff was filmed seeing as Paul was CG.