Saturday, March 26, 2011

Paul - Movie Review

ll 1/2

Starring Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Jason Bateman, Kristen Wiig, Bill Hader, Joe Lo Truglio, Blythe Danner, John Carroll Lynch, Jane Lynch, David Koechner, Jesse Plemons, Sigourney Weaver and the voice of Seth Rogen.
Directed by Greg Mottola.

Ever see someone faint in real life? Or fainted yourself? My experience is you do not freeze with a grin on your face before falling straight back. Nevertheless everyone who faints in this movie does so the same way. Lot of fainting. It's indicative of the lazy writing that creeps in to this otherwise interesting premise.

Pegg and Frost, the duo from Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz (both better movies), are Graeme and Clive, two sci-fi geeks who've made their way to Comic-Con in San Diego. They are starry-eyed and thrilled to be amongst the sword-makers, Klingon-speakers, and parade of Princess Leias in golden bikinis. They've also decided on this trip to hit all the alien hotspots (Area 51, Roswell, etc.)

But somewhere along the way they encounter an actual alien. He's Paul, a little green man who's been here for sixty years but has decided now's the time to go home, and since he's voiced by Seth Rogen, he smokes weed.

The movie has a slew of pop-culture references, mostly of the Spielbergian sort, to the point that it ceased being funny and became just distracting. It also features some American caricatures that might be amusing through the British lense, but the rednecks are just a little too rednecky, the anti-evolutionist Christians just a little too kooky, and why does everyone they meet want to know if they're gay or not?

There's a lot to enjoy here and a lot not to. I recognize the same description could apply to a bowl of Lucky Charms and cat food.

P.S. I applaud that a movie this self-referential did not exploit the fact that Pegg is Scotty in the new Star Trek movies.

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