As voted by you.
With previous commendations such as Hot Fuzz and Shaun of the Dead, Nick Frost and Simon Pegg's latest Hollywood outing has got a lot to live up to. And with the classic Edgar Wright being replaced for Superbad's Greg Mottola in the directors chair, I'm sure I wasn't the only one with a few worries. But thankfully, Paul delivers, and in more ways than one...
Now, for Pegg and Frost, geek culture is literally second to none for them, both having confessed their love of all things sci-fi. However, as much as this relays over to the first 20 minutes or so, (where their characters (Graeme Willy and "The Writer", Clive Gollings, respectively) are lapping up the illustrious Comic-Con) you'd be forgiven if you lost some matter of interest. Those unfamiliar with such nerdy traditions and culture may get lost within this short intro section, unawares of the various in-jokes and references being thrown out. Fortunately for those affected by this ailment (certainly not me!), this part doesn't drag on too long, and you'll be back laughing before you know it, no matter how many chuckle-some references you're missing out on.
Luckily, things start to pick up with the introduction of Paul, the recently escaped, obnoxious alien, (perfectly voiced by the equally obnoxious Seth Rogen) who needs the guys help to escape the feds and return home after 50 years held captive. With a third party member aboard the nerd's RV (they were planning, in true nerd style, to visit all of Americas UFO hot-spots), there's a much better group dynamic in place, especially with the straight talking Paul creating tension between Graeme and Clive, as he befriends one and aggravates the other. And, being the movie's title, Paul is the source of a lot of the comedy throughout, as he accommodates himself to home comforts such as booze, bongs and bagels.
And Seth Rogen carries this burden of the comedy gold mine very well throughout, with both his voice acting and motion capture, where he manages to pull off the slacker stance and feel to the character. Meanwhile, Pegg and Frost play their parts well, but as genuine nerds themselves, it's not an over demanding challenge. Love interest Kristen Wiig troupers through as the one-eyed, bible-bashing romance element for Pegg and Jason Bateman is the well played, if stereotypical, head agent chasing after the gang along with his two slapstick buffoon lackies. Plus, Glee's Jane Lynch and the legendary Sigourney Weaver drop by...
Plot wise, there's really not that much to say. Being somewhat of a predictable narrative setup, Pegg and Frost combine genres to keep it innovative and to stop it from becoming stale. Road trip meets cop-chase, and comedy sees action as the tight script unfolds around the audience. But the characters are where the script really shines, with each being given an eventual arc, that sees each personality transform as Paul influences them personally along the journey.
But all this character developing doesn't mean that Paul misses out on some hilarious hi-jinks and set-pieces, such as Kristen Wiig's newfound ability to curse, the curious interest in Paul's "spaceballs" held by certain characters or the various car chases, to name but a few highlights.
The numerous references to the likes of E.T., Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Star Trek and everything else just make it that more special for those who can find them and shows a real dedication to the fans who, in turn, have shown real dedication. And, why this may seem odd, it makes you feel good recognizing a certain quote or action from a past sci-fi classic, especially if those around you don't - it's a rewarding experience that you can wring so much out of.
By the end, you'll come out of the cinema (or computer, for all you pirates out there...) feeling happy and, surprisingly, somewhat moved by the final scenes. And although he hasn't exactly put his own stamp on, director Mottola manages to pull off a neat, enjoyable package with the fantastic script from Pegg & Frost that left me smiling for some time after. It may be more mainstream and "Hollywood" than Shaun and Fuzz, but that doesn't make it any less sweeter.
So that's your RE:View of Paul, just like 44% of you asked for. I hope it was what you wanted from it, and it felt good knowing I was writing it because people wanted it. Sort of a motivation/incentive kind of thing. Anyway, I'm assuming you all noted the use of a double bracket (a bracket within a bracket) and hopefully that Inception-shit I pulled with it didn't confuse you too much... That's it for now though, but a new trailer tomorrow! Stay tuned.