Paul review

            Simon Pegg and Nick Frost have made themselves into the latest comedy screen duo with the films that they write and star in. Their films are buddy comedies, but they are also like love letters to the types of films that the duo loves. Shaun of the Dead was not so much a spoof of zombie films as it was homage, and the same can be said of Hot Fuzz, the cop/mystery film. And now they have brought the same love of alien films to their third pairing together as both writers and stars, this time directed by Greg Mottola. The marketing for this film made it seem raunchy and filled with bathroom humor, but that was just a bad idea. The actual film is not nearly as crass as the trailers and spots would have you believe.

            The film follows the misadventures of science fiction geeks and best friends (Pegg and Frost) on a cross country trip in the United States. After their visit to San Diego for Comic Con, the pair rent an RV to visit all of the UFO hot-spots in America. They get more than they bargain for, however, when they meet a real alien on the run from the government. Paul (voiced by Seth Rogen) looks exactly as you would expect a film alien to look, and he has a great explanation for this.

            Apparently the many years that Paul has spent on Earth have been spent influencing popular culture much more than medicine and science. This results in a number of affectations which can be traced back to a number of classic films. For example, when stopping at a gas station Paul asks the guys to buy the same candy which was used to lure the alien in E.T., and there is even a sequence when he is seen advising Steven Spielberg by phone. There are many clever moments such as this in Paul. As vulgar as the film is marketed to be, the actual end result may be rather low key. It is a clever and thoughtful film while also being a comedy, and in some ways the sensitive side of the script works much better than the humor.

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