Rudie Reviews Greg Mottola’s Paul [Theatrical Review]

This year’s spring slate of movie releases seem to be drawing from the overload of summer movies. And by all means, Paul’s appeal leans toward the summer movie market than the spring. It appeals to a broad audience but at the same time to a niche market, it’s widely fun and exciting and full of great cameos that would seem ridiculous for any other movie not released in the summer season. But alas, Paul is not a summer movie, being released in March, although it easily could’ve been.

Paul (voiced by Seth Rogen) is an alien who crashes on earth in the 1940s, since then he was kept by the government and was responsible for most of pop culture and technology in the up-coming years. While trying to escape, two British nerds (Simon Pegg and Nick Frost) while on holiday in the states for Comic Con find Paul in the southwest. On the run from government agents (Jason Bateman, Bill Hadar and Joe Lo Truglio), the trio must make their way so Paul can ‘call home’ and go back to his home planet. Paul is one half buddy road movie and other half space alien movie, it serves both roles pretty well, all wrapped in a nerd-gasm of geek porn. The movie is full of sci-fi, comic book and movie geek references that will have any one who has ever went to comic-con in hysterics as they point to the screen, ‘Hey! That was from Indiana Jones’ or ‘Hey! Check out that Scott Pilgrim reference.’

The only real issues I have are with the pace of Paul. It doesn’t feel as if the content was infused with the style of the film. Director Greg Mottola doesn’t achieve the same preciousness as his previous films Superbad and Adventureland. Not to say it feels cold, it’s very funny, but I feel Simon Pegg and Nick Frost’s material would have served better with Edgar Wright’s hyper-reality style. This was the second movie the trio hasn’t worked on together (the first being Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World). Paul would have been a good entry into their previous works, Shaun of The Dead and Hot Fuzz. This movie was made by comic-con nerds for comic-con nerds so it would lend itself to the complete parody. I guess I’m saying the movie didn’t feel nerdy enough.

Overall, I really enjoyed Paul. I take issue with the pacing as it does feel a little slack. Seth Rogen’s performance as Paul is delightful irreverent. His shtick could’ve gotten really old, really fast but Rogen gives enough charm and heart to this alien to make him a.) enjoyable and b.) believable. As much as this movie does feel like a summer movie, it was a good move by Universal to release it during the spring. I feel it might have gotten lost in the summer movie weekend battles and ultimately would have failed at the box office. The alien movie to see this spring is Paul and not Battle: Los Angeles.

Grade: C+


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