After watching Hot Fuzz and Shaun of the Dead, I pretty much decided to watch anything that Simon Pegg and Nick Frost did, especially if they are together. I wanted to see this movie in the theater but somehow just never got around to it so when it showed up from Netflix, soon to be renamed Qwikster, I was anxious to pop it into the Blu-ray player. Once again I feel robbed by not seeing this movie in the theater because while it was great on its own, a group of geeky friends would have made it perfect.
Graeme Willy (Simon Pegg) and Clive Gollings (Nick Frost) are two geeky friends from England who have come to the states on a great vacation. They start with the San Diego Comic Con and then decide to take an RV across the south west United States to see several geeky landmarks, mostly pertaining to alien sightings and sci-fi books. During their trip they run into an unlikely hitchhiker, a short wise-cracking alien named Paul (Seth Rogan).
Paul has escaped from his government confines and is attempting to get off the planet. He convinces the guys to help him and along the way they pick up the sheltered and extremely religious Ruth Buggs (Kristen Wiig) who’s faith is shattered by Paul’s existence. In the mean time Agent Zoil (Jason Bateman) is tracking them down with the help of two incompetent low-level agents, Haggard (Bill Hader) and O-Reilly (Joe Lo Truglio).
You know what makes a comedy truly enduring like say, Hot Fuzz, Shaun of the Dead or Tommy Boy? Heart, the characters have to have heart. And Paul has heart. The movie was written by Nick Frost and Simon Pegg (who are long-time friends) and that comes across in the love for the geek genre. Sure they poke fun at comics, super heroes, sci-fi and everything else geeky but it’s not “look at those dorks who like that stupid crap” its “yeah it goofy, but I like it too.” Know what I mean?
Everyone in this movie was perfectly cast, everyone. Jason Bateman as a hard-nosed, no nonsense, bad-ass bad guy works. Pegg Frost both come across as lovable geeks you just want to grab a bear with and talk nerd stuff with for hours on end. The surprise for me though was Seth Rogan. He was Seth Rogan but not too Seth Rogan if you know what I mean. I was afraid doing voice work for an animated alien was going to give him license to just go balls out over the top but he didn’t, the humor is there with none of the annoying stuff he sometimes brings to his characters (he got under my skin a little in Knocked Up).
This alone is enough to make me like the movie but then when you throw in all the geeky humor and culture references, it pushed it way over the edge into the realm of love. The now standard Star Wars and Star trek references are there but when Paul starts imitating a Predator I cracked up. Oh and the little guest voice appearance by Spielberg was classic.
The movie does touch some hot button topics like the existence of God in respect to there also being aliens, but it doesn’t get too heavy fisted with it. If you prefer not to mix your religious philosophy with your comedy sci-fi movie, then you might want to skip this one. And Dogma, yeah stay away from Dogma (even though I liked it as well).
Though Edgar Wright didn’t direct this movie, Greg Mottola did an awesome job letting the cast do their thing. He also directed Super Bad and I got that feeling watching this as well. Paul is very close to ending up on my list of must own movies, which is getting harder and harder to do now that I Netflix, I mean Qwikster (yep, that is going to take awhile to get used to.)
Optimusgene is the chief editor and founder of OneManAsylum.com. He is also the co-host of the Group Therapy weekly podcast. You can follow him on Twitter @optimusgene and on Google+ gplus.to/optimusgene.
Rating (1 - 5)
Optimusgene - 5
Aubrey Lou - 5
Jay Red - 5
Peru - 5
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