Rating: R and Unrated
Simon Pegg as Graeme Willy
Nick Frost as Clive Gollings
Seth Rogen as Paul (voice)
Kristen Wiig as Ruth Buggs
Jason Bateman as Agent Zoil
Sigourney Weaver as The Big Guy
Bill Hader as Haggard
Joe Lo Truglio as O’Reilly
John Carroll Lynch as Moses Buggs
Jeffrey Tambor as Adam Shadowchild
Nelson Ascencio as Jorge
Jane Lynch as Pat Stevens
David Koechner as Gus
Jesse Plemons as Jake
Directed by Greg Mottola
Between The Lightning Strikes: The Making of Paul
The Evolution of Paul
Simon’s Silly Faces
Who The Hell Is Adam Shadowchild?
DTS-HD 5.1 MA Sound
Spanish and French Languages
Spanish and French Subtitles
Running Time: 1 Hour 44 Minutes (Rated), 1 Hour 50 Minutes (Unrated)
The following is the official description of the film:
“Simon Pegg and Nick Frost (‘Hot Fuzz,’ ‘Shaun of the Dead’) reunite as sci-fi geeks taking a pilgrimage to America’s UFO heartland. There they meet a smart-ass alien Paul (voiced by Seth Rogen) who takes them on an insane road trip. As they struggle to return Paul home the little green man might just take the outcasts from misfits to intergalactic heroes. From the director of ‘Superbad,’ Greg Mottola, and with a stellar supporting cast including Jason Bateman, Kristen Wiig, Bill Hader, Joe Lo Truglio, Jane Lynch and Sigourney Weaver, ‘Paul’ is a must-own comedy adventure not to be missed!”
“Paul” is rated R for language including sexual references, and some drug use.
“Paul” is fun for a lot of reasons. First and foremost, it tells the story of a couple of sci-fi geeks coming from the San Diego Comic-Con. We see them crossing the railroad tracks in front of the convention center with orcs. We see them ogling Slave Leias (and Ewoks… don’t ask). We see them have to awkwardly share a hotel room and bed like many con-goers have to do. (I have friends who have termed the pillows separating two geeks sharing a bed as the “Bro-Barrier”.) We also see them getting autographs from a haughty sci-fi writer. Anybody that has actually gone through the convention experience will immediately identify with these characters. Pegg and Frost are obviously ‘one of us’.
The movie then transitions and becomes a little bit of a road trip movie. We see these two lovable Brits touring the American West and living out their dreams of visiting UFO landmarks. I’ve driven through Roswell, NM myself and enjoyed the UFO and alien kitsch. And seeing the British culture mixing with rural American culture is a lot of fun, particularly in a diner scene featuring Jane Lynch as a waitress.
“Paul” then makes another transition and turns into a parody of all of the alien and sci-fi movies that we know and love. The character of Paul is your typical grey alien and delivers all of the jokes you would expect. We get the anal probing jokes, the E.T. jokes, the government agent jokes, etc. There’s even a hilarious joke where Paul is advising Steven Spielberg about “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” in the ’80s. The icing on the cake is seeing Sigourney Weaver, arguably the queen of sci-fi, appear and take on our heroes in the finale. If you’re a fan of “Star Wars,” “Predator,” “Close Encounters” or any other sci-fi movie, you’re going to love this.
The only thing that turned me off was Kristen Wiig as Ruth Buggs. She’s an ultra-conservative Christian who is adamantly against evolution until she meets Paul. While almost all of the humor in “Paul” is done in a positive way, this is all handled in a decidedly mean-spirited way. If you believe in intelligent design, this movie calls you an ignorant mindless fool. While the term “anti-Christian” gets thrown around a lot, you could say that “Paul” falls in that category. When Ruth is enlightened by Paul, she immediately concludes that she has been lied to her entire life and then decides to make up for all of the cussing that she missed out on. I think it would have been funnier if she actually stuck to her beliefs and continued to have the science vs faith debate with Paul for the rest of the film. It would have continued to keep Paul on his toes and offered up more opportunities for new jokes rather than the simple profanity jokes that eventually got old. It also would have been less likely to alienate (no pun intended) a significant portion of its audience.
Overall, though, “Paul” does what it sets out to do – it’s a fun R-rated comedy and an homage to the sci-fi and geek culture. Fans of Pegg and Frost should enjoy it a lot.
The Blu-ray has a ton of bonus features on it. There’s an unrated version of the movie included that is 6 minutes longer than the theatrical version. You’ll also find a very extensive “behind-the-scenes” featurettes on the making of the movie. Frost and Pegg actually rented an RV and toured around the West for research for the movie. You see a lot of footage from that and it’s a lot of fun. There is also a lot of footage of Seth Rogen’s motion capture performance. A bunch of the online featurettes are included, too, and they cover everything from shooting in the desert to the costumer. And if that wasn’t enough, you’ll also find a featurette on the development of the Paul CG alien, bloopers, a commentary, and more. There is a lot here and they cover every aspect of the making of the film that you could hope for.