Paul – Review

‘Paul’ preview held at the Prince Charles Cinema – Tuesday 8th February 2011 (With Introduction from Simon Pegg and Nick Frost)

After a quick photo opportunity (above) where the entire audience donned ‘Paul’ masks (that’s me, third row, at the end on the right – Hi!) the audience were treated to a brief introduction from stars Simon Pegg and Nick Frost who gave a little background on the making of the film but were cut short by microphone problems, although they did have the opportunity to reveal The Prince Charles Cinema’s darkest (cutlery based) secret before the film started

Synopsis

Friends and Geeks-in-arms Graeme Willy (Pegg) and the writer Clive Gollings (Frost) head to the US to attend Comic-Con and then out on a road trip in a rented RV to take in the hottest UFO spots in America, where, after an altercation with some unfriendly locals, a chase and a car crash later they run into Paul, an alien escaped from Area 51 trying to get home

Sci-Fi fans Willy and, eventually, Gollings are convinced to help Paul escape the clutches of the pursuing Special Agent Zoil (Jason Batemen), bungling FBI Agents Haggard (Bill Hader) and O’Reilly (Joe Lo Truglio) and, following the accidental kidnapping of his cycloptic creationist daughter Ruth (Kristin Wiig), bible bashing Moses Buggs (John Carroll Lynch)

From then on it’s a race against time to get Paul safely back to his pick up point before any of the chasing pack, or someone even worse, can stop them

Summary

I loved Spaced – probably mostly because I recognised a lot of Pegg’s character Tim, in myself at the time with a love of gaming, comics, Star Wars and zombies and I had a potentially deranged painter living in my basement – but Spaced set a very, very high bar which, for me, neither Shaun of the Dead or Hot Fuzz have managed to come close to.

Paul is a very different movie and is played more for laughs than either SotD or Hot Fuzz, indeed it is laugh-out-loud funny on a good few occasions, but it also feels better paced with an almost non-stop volley of gags, taking in every sci-fi reference and anal probe joke it can possibly get away with and a few digs at religion that it might not

The cast is a true who’s who of US talent that includes Superbad alumni Joe Lo Truglio and the excellent Bill Hader, Saturday Night Live’s Kristen Wiig, Glee’s hilariously hateful Sue Sylvester, Jane Lynch, the always brilliant Jason Bateman and a scene stealing Jeffery Tambour as Adam Shadowchild, Willy and Gollings literary hero

Of course, the real star of the film is Paul himself and if the character wasn’t believable on-screen, the film wouldn’t work. Thankfully, Paul is brilliantly brought to life by Double Negative Special Effects (who also handled recent blockbusters such as Inception, Iron Man 2 and the final 2 installments of the Harry Potter saga) and is thoroughly believable in every scene. Add Seth Rogan’s world-weary voice into the mix along with some gollum-esq facial capture and Paul comes alive and you could almost believe that he’s been trapped on this rock for 60 years

My only problem was the nagging feeling that there is a better film in here, screaming to get out, that may have been stifled slightly by committee. It suffers in some parts, falling back on a constant barrage of often unneccessary ‘comedy’ swearing for cheap laughs and the love triangle is slightly uncomfortable.

7/10 – My god, its full of stars, but it’s not quite out of this world

Paul is in UK Cinemas on February 14th ad US Cinemas on February 18th

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