Alien in an RV
Title: Paul. Directors: Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. Starring: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Seth Rogan
Picture in your mind two English computer geeks who combined their first trip to the States with their first trip to ComiCon. They got it all covered–meet Adam Shadowchild (who?), get their geek on at ComiCon, then hop in an RV and road trip-it to all the Twilight Zone hot spots: Area 51, the Black Box, etc. Imagine their surprise when, along their journeys, the end up crossing paths with a worldly refugee alien who calls himself, of all things, Paul.
The Good: This movie was, beyond a doubt, one of the best alien movies I have ever seen. To start, it was ridiculously funny. Best friends Pegg and Frost, the writers/stars of this movie, are no strangers to their genre. They are known best for movies such as Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. However, the biggest difference between Shaun, Hot Fuzz, and Paul is that while the former two find their humor in shameless mockery, the latter seeks more to tribute the alien genre rather than find its flaws. Both Pegg and Frost love science fiction, and in playing Graeme Willy (Pegg) and the writer Clive Gollings (Frost) and in creating the character of Paul (Rogan) they wanted to explore a non-traditional angle to the nature of aliens themselves.
The Bad: On a slightly petty note, there was quite a bit of swearing and innuendo. Albeit funny, and on the whole necessary to the development of the movie, it does limit the age and demographic of the audience. That is all on that.
While the main three were intended to show the softer side of stereotype, the supporting cast does nothing but caricature their given roles. Ruth Buggs (Kristen Wiig) and her father Moses Buggs (John Carroll Lynch) play the shotgun-toting Bible-thumpers who shout “Jesus words” at the very mention of space, science, alternate intelligence, or–heaven forbid–evolution. When Ruth sees Paul (and after she has regained her senses) she backs into a corner, wagging her finger at him and yelling “Demon!” (Really?). The “Man in Black” Agent Zoil (Jason Bateman) is secretive and arrogant and his cronies, FBI Agents Haggard and O’Reilly (Bill Hader and Jo Lo Truglio, respectively) play the babbling idiots just stupid enough to blindly follow him.
The Ugly: I need to see this movie again. Partly because I truly did love it the first time around, but partly because I want to see if it holds up. Their most recent movie, Hot Fuzz, though hilarious the first go, dropped to just plain stupid on the second watch.