Starring: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Seth Rogen
Director: Greg Mottola
Running Time: 104 mins
Paul is an American film about two sci-fi nerds who encounter an alien from outer space, named Paul. However, when they find that Paul isn’t so unlike themselves, they work to help him escape a relentless pursuit by secret government officials.
On the one hand, this film does successfully live up to Simon Pegg and Nick Frost’s intended ‘homage’ to science fiction, and is full of ingenious references and subtle witticisms in that regard. On the other hand, the main story here is nothing special at all, whilst the level of the comedy really doesn’t compare to anything that Pegg and Frost did in their hit sci-fi parody TV show: ‘Spaced’.
Of course, the film shouldn’t be totally compared to Spaced, but that can be used as a benchmark of how funny Pegg and Frost can be, especially when parodying science fiction cinema. This film, on the other hand, whilst being full of brilliant references to classic sci-fi hits like Close Encounters Of The Third Kind, Aliens and E.T., doesn’t provide the consistent barrel of laughs that we’ve come to expect from this comedy duo, and is therefore somewhat disappointing.
It’s not a terrible comedy, however. There are some decent jokes throughout, and although you won’t wet yourself laughing, you won’t ever be bored.
Above the gags, the funniest thing about this film is the characters. Okay, so Simon Pegg and Nick Frost’s main nerd characters aren’t that hilarious, but the foul-mouthed, drinking, smoking alien Paul is good for a few laughs. Also, Kristen Wiig, who stars as a devout Christian girl that is converted to atheism is pretty funny, as is Jason Bateman, Bill Hader, Joe Lo Truglio and Sigourney Weaver in smaller roles.
Away from the comedy, there are still more things to praise here. The CGI of Paul, using Seth Rogen in a motion-capture suit, is very impressive, and definitely a lot more convincing than so many other modern comedies that try to jump on the special effects bandwagon.
So, if you’re a big sci-fi fan who likes a good few in-jokes about the genre, there’s a lot to love here, but more generally, this film is pretty entertaining and fun to watch, despite not being the most hilarious comedy you’ll ever see, and that’s why I’ll give it a 7.1.