Paul (R13)

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The ViewAuckland Review

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Review byMatthew Turner10/02/2011

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 104 mins

Impressively directed and frequently funny, this is an enjoyable, well written sci-fi comedy that's packed with great gags, geek-pleasing film references and a host of terrific performances from a talented comic cast.

What's it all about?
Directed by Greg Mottola (Superbad) and written by co-stars Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, Paul opens with sci-fi nerd best-friends Graeme (Pegg) and Clive (Frost) embarking on a road trip of UFO hotspots after attending San Diego's Comic-Con. After a close encounter with a pair of violent rednecks (David Koechner and Jesse Plemons), Graeme and Clive get the shock of their lives when they meet Paul (voiced by Seth Rogen), a wise-cracking, chain-smoking alien who's on the run after escaping from Roswell's Area 51.

Seizing the chance to act out a real-life E.T. fantasy, the loveable nerds agree to help Paul evade capture and return him to his mothership, but things quickly get complicated when they accidentally kidnap Bible-bashing trailer park owner Ruth (Kristen Wiig) and are pursued by her religious fanatic father (John Carroll Lynch). Meanwhile, mysterious Agent Zoil (Jason Bateman) is hot on Paul's trail, aided and abetted by clueless FBI agents Haggard (Bill Hader) and O'Reilly (Joe Lo Truglio).

The Good
Pegg and Frost are an immensely likeable comic duo and they're both on top form here with an easy rapport that reflects the obvious chemistry of their real-life friendship-slash-bromance. Similarly, Rogen proves an inspired choice for Paul and it's a treat to see Wiig finally handed a role worthy of her comedic talents; there's also terrific support from a talented comic cast that includes the likes of Jane Lynch and Jeffrey Tambor as well as a crowd-pleasing if poorly-concealed “surprise” cameo from (Cameo Spoiler Alert!) Sigourney Weaver.

The witty script ensures a regular stream of good lines and great sight gags; it's also packed with geeky film references both obvious (all the E.T. stuff) and subtle (several lines are nicked from other movies), suggesting the film will reward multiple viewings over time. In addition, the CGI Paul effects are extremely well done allowing him to seamlessly interact with the cast in a way that E.T. himself would be proud of.

The Great
The most surprising thing is the well-aimed kick the film takes at religious fundamentalism (Creationists in particular, but let's face it, they deserve it), so it'll be interesting to see how the film plays in the US.

Worth seeing?
Paul is a hugely enjoyable, frequently funny sci-fi comedy that delivers plenty of decent laughs thanks to a witty script and a fine comic cast. Highly recommended.

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Paul (R13)
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Content updated: 25/01/2020 13:02

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