“Paul” Movie Review

     In the new science fiction film “Paul”,  life long friends Graeme and Clive are on the trip of a lifetime, for them.  Clive is a science fiction writer and Graeme is a science fiction illustrator who have traveled thousands of miles from their homeland of England to San Diego, California for the annual Comic Con.  This is the trip they have been talking about since they were kids and they are finally doing it.  In addition to the convention, they have also rented an RV and intend to visit all of the various sites in the United States which are said to have something to do with UFOs, such as Area 51.  When they begin this trip, they couldn’t possibly have imagined who they would run into.

     Nick Frost (Clive) and Simon Pegg (Graeme) do double duty as both the stars and the writers of “Paul”, which is full of references to basically every popular science fiction film in the last 30 plus years.  A fan, like myself, is certain to have a great time catching all of them.  These two guys are presented from the beginning as the stereotypical sci-fi geek and every situation they find themselves in illustrates this point.  I suppose they could’ve been worse if they, like many of the convention attendees, were dressed up as their favorite Star Wars character.  No matter to me since I am either of these two in real life and proud of it!

     After the convention, they get on their way to Roswell, New Mexico and while traveling at night, they think they’re being followed by a vehicle which then abruptly passes them and crashes.  When they stop to render aid, they have a close encounter with “Paul”, a very stereotypical looking yet very human acting alien from another world.  Paul is voiced by Seth Rogan and his dialogue is right out of any one of Rogan’s standard R-rated comedies.  He’s foul mouthed and at times quite disgusting, but I really liked the little guy and his character gets better as the film goes on. Of course, Paul is a CGI character along the lines of Gollum from “The Lord of the Rings” and the integration with live action is seamless throughout.  Kudos to the effects team. Frost and Pegg have put Paul into some classic situations which definitely had me laughing and there are far more funny parts than you see in the trailer which I found to be a relief.

     As the story moves on we find the government has been using Paul for all of his knowledge and he apparently was used as a consultant by Steven Spielberg for “E.T.”!  Once his usefulness is over, they threaten to kill him for his brain and that is when he escapes with the help of someone on the inside.  Along for the ride is Ruth (Kristen Wiig), who the duo are forced to kidnap after she has an accidental encounter with Paul at her RV park.  Her part is hilarious because she starts out as a woman of god that has done no wrong, but after being enlightened on the theories of evolution by Paul, she goes on a mission to have sex and cuss.  Needless to say, her attempts at cussing need a lot of work.

     We even get an appearance by none other than Sigourney Weaver as a big time government operative on Paul’s trail, as well as Jason Bateman as the ruthless Agent Zoil who chases Paul and his friends across the desert for the entire film.  The cast in Paul is excellent all around and I basically view the film as a whole as a farce, not to be taken seriously.  There are so many obvious references that another Sigourney Weaver film immediately comes to mind, “Galaxy Quest.”  Where that film concentrated on being a satire of “Star Trek” and TV series like it, Paul hits mainstream films such as “Star Wars”, “Close Encounters”, “Men in Black”, and “Aliens” to name a few.  I guess these references don’t get any more obvious than when the main players arrive at Devils Tower during the film.

     I couldn’t help but to notice during the comic con scenes that there was a large collection of women dressed in the “Slave Leia” outfit from “Return of the Jedi” and how many times I have hoped I could get my wife to do the same!  To tell you how great of a woman Ruth turns out to be after she falls for Graeme, she attends comic con with him the following year and wears the “Princess Leia” bounty hunter costume from “Return of the Jedi”.  When he approaches her, she removes her helmet after being asked by him “Who are you?” and she says “Someone who loves you.”  Nothing like ending the film on a glorious note. GRADE: B+