For the past 60 years, the alien named Paul has been hanging out at a top-secret military base. For reasons unknown, the space-traveling smart ass decides to escape the compound and hop on the first vehicle out of town -- a rented RV containing Earthlings Graeme Willy and Clive Gollings. Chased by federal agents and the fanatical father of a young woman that they accidentally kidnap, Graeme and Clive hatch a fumbling escape plan to return Paul to his mother ship.
Directed by: Greg Mottola
. Starring: Mia Stallard
, Simon Pegg
, Nick Frost
, Jeremy Owen
, Jeffrey Tambor
, David House
, Jennifer Granger
, Nelson Ascencio
, Bobby Lee
, Jane Lynch
, David Koechner
, Jesse Plemons
, Seth Rogen
. Music by: David Arnold
"Paul," directed by "Superbad" Greg Motolla, is a great movie! I missed it at the theaters earlier this year, even though it starred (and was written by) "Shaun of the Dead" and "Hot Fuzz" starsco-writers Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. "Paul" is their latest collaboration of bringing British-style humor to us tasteless Americans. "Paul" begins in 1947 (note the year, which is the same as the famous Roswell, New Mexico, alien-crash-landing controversy), when an alien spacecraft crash-lands in Wyoming, right on top of some poor little girl's beloved Golden Retriever Paul.
64 years later, British sci-fi nerds Graeme Willy (Pegg) and Clive Gollings (Frost) are on a tour of the American Southwest, the heartland of (alleged) UFO activity in the country. In their travels in a fully-loaded RV, that's when they come across a genuine Little Green Man from another planet, the smart-ass alien "Paul" (voiced by Seth Rogen, continuing his likable slacker shtick in CGI form), the same extraterrestrial who crash-landed back in Wyoming back in 1947 and has been named after the dog he accidentally crushed to death.
It turns out that when Paul first arrived here, he was detained by the military and was able to provide all of his knowledge to the government and subsequently influence more than half a century of pop culture (Mr. Spielberg, you devil, you!). Paul has unfortunately outlived his usefulness and the scientists who detained him are eager to learn more about his abilities. This would unfortunately include the dissection of his brain, and is also the reason why he is now a fugitive on the run from the government, and is on his way to a rendezvous with the mother-ship from his home planet in - you guessed it - Devil's Tower in Wyoming (the famous location of the human-extraterrestrial rendezvous in 1977's "Close Encounters of the Third Kind").
But Paul is no ordinary extraterrestrial. He proves to be quite intelligent, but has obviously picked up a few bad habits by giving into American slacker culture over the course of his 64-year detainment. He has an extremely limited vocabulary, has a fondness for pot and booze, but is still incredibly likable and even sympathetic, like some of the best and most memorable movie aliens. In fact, Rogen's portrayal of Paul could in some way be considered a deconstruction of, or even a parody of, movie aliens (like the ones made famous by Mr. Spielberg in "Close Encounters" and "E.T., the Extraterrestrial").
And even though Sigourney Weaver pops up here in a thankless villain role as a high-ranking government agent known only as "The Big Guy" (it should really be "The Big Gal," but I digress) she does in fact get some of the movie's best and funniest lines and is in fact quite a funny actress in her own right; I knew that anyway, since she is my favorite actress, after all, in a role that's a complete 180 from my favorite movie of hers, "Aliens" (1986), which also gets skewered here. And Jason Bateman, Bill Hader, and Joe Lo Truglio turn in hilarious (and self-knowing) performances as bumbling government agents hot on Paul's trail.
"Paul" is a great adventure-comedyroad movie with a sci-fi twist. The acting from Simon Pegg and Nick Frost is brilliant, as they both were previously in the aforementioned "Shaun of the Dead" and "Hot Fuzz." Now here is where things get personal for this reviewer. In regards to some of the unnecessary controversy directed at this movie, some viewers have also expressed concern with the character of Ruth (Kristen Wiig), a Bible-thumping fundamentalist Christian woman whose faith is shaken by her time with Paul. It's a comedy, folks, and this is coming from someone with a Christian background, but is now more spiritual and philosophical than overtly religious.
That does not mean, however, that I do not believe in the existence of God, or a "god." That also does not mean that I do not believe in the existence of extraterrestrial life. In fact, I personally find it offensive and a slight to God to NOT believe in the existence of other forms of intelligent life in the universe besides us measly humans; the universe is constantly expanding, new planets and galaxies are being discovered everyday, and there's just no way to believe anymore with a straight face that we are the pinnacle of God's masterwork. In fact, it could be argued that there's proof within "The Holy Bible" itself of mankind's past encounters with extraterrestrials; read the first and tenth chapters of "The Book of Ezekiel" for further reference.
But, whatever; this is all just my honest, humble opinion. If you find "Paul" offensive, then just don't watch the movie, and that's all it is: a movie, a movie about a smart-talking, pot-smoking, slacker alien named "Paul.".
Review by dee.reid from the Internet Movie Database.