Saturday, March 19, 2011

Movie Review: Paul

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Are you the type that believes in conspiracy theories? Do you listen to Art Bell and George Noory late night on Coast to Coast AM? Do you have different colors and styles of tin hats as part of your permanent clothing collection? Have you even remotely thought of trying the Klingon dish gagh, going to Comic-Con, or chuckling at Galaxy Quest? If so, then Paul is the movie for you!

Paul Movie Poster
Just as Galaxy Quest pokes fun at the fans of Star Trek writers Nick Frost and Simon Pegg poke fun of both people who believe and don't believe in extraterrestrial life. Frost and Pegg also take the lead roles as science fiction writer Clive Gollings and illustrator Graeme Willy. The blokes are best friends from the UK who have come to America to be part of the greatest geek fest going on planet Earth, Comic-Con. For any red blooded geek male they had to have the shots of a group of ladies dressed up as slave Princess Leia. Be still my foolish heart!

Where were we? Oh yeah...So Comic-Con was the first part of the big journey. The next part was renting a mobile home RV and doing a road trip to hot spots of alien folklore like the Extraterrestrial Highway, Groom lake and the Black Mailbox , Little A'Le'Inn, Area 51 and of course, Roswell, New Mexico. Something that surprised me was two guys from England driving this big vehicle sitting in the left side and heading down the highway in the right side lane. They seemed to pick that up pretty easily!

Of course the story wouldn't be funny if the total believers in aliens don't come across a real alien. All of a sudden they now really have to believe in aliens. This one is named of all things, Paul (voiced by Seth Rogen). Turns out the government has known about him since 1947 and he's been helping them thinking that he was their guest. He made a run for it when he discovered he was not a visitor getting the star treatment, but a prisoner who is now trying to escape and get back to his mother ship. He enlists the two nerds to help him out and they agree.

What worked is that Rogen didn't play the part over the top vocally. What the animation of Paul did with his behaviors was a bit over the edge. Between his need for food, sleep and smoking pot Paul is just one of the guys. The movie parodies and skews so many parts of the alien genre you can get in a few good laughs. Crash landings, mother ships, body probes, mind melds, healing abilities, snacks, men in black, cover's all there. There are numerous references to all sorts of movies within the genre. See if you can pick them out. There is even one special scene where Paul is talking to a certain someone (wink) on the phone. Turns out that someone (wink) was actually on the other end of the line.

The one part of the movie I didn't like was the language, it went over the top for no reason. It seemed like they were trying to have a swearfest to see who could come up with the most nonsensical combination of words to try to describe things. That just didn't work. It became a distraction rather than an addition to the movie. For the language including sexual references, and some drug use the movie received an R rating.

The ending was not what I was expecting. The actresses selected for two pivotal (well, as pivotal as you can get for a parody movie) were great choices. The 104 minutes passed quickly. Don't leave the theater before the credits start to roll, once they do then go ahead and leave. While I might need to wash out my ears with soap, there was a smile on my face as I walked out of the dark into the light. Between the movie and the free small popcorn that Regal made available via a coupon on their Facebook page, it was a good movie day!

The Movie Monkey

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