Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

A month or so ago I was dispatched to the show to watch some movie I didn’t want to watch and amidst the thirty five or forty movie trailers they force down our throats before they actually get around to the movie, they showed the trailer for this movie ‘Paul’. Funniest Movie Trailer Ever. Before I saw that trailer the funniest movie trailer crown was worn by ‘Tropic Thunder’, a movie that was plenty funny but didn’t live up to the grand expectations set forth by the dude that cut that trailer. Guess what? ‘Paul’ is plenty funny, no doubt about that, but it also gets bogged down in a bunch of other mess, mess that’s not so funny and as such it does not live up to the grand expectations set forth by the dude that cut that trailer either.

You know why movies are cool? Because movies are made by creative people who usually got beat up and bullied a lot in high school, but today they are rich, in charge, running things and are making movies where geeks, losers and fanboys are heroes. How sweet is that for them? Take Graeme (Simon Pegg) and Clive (Nick Frost) for instance. A couple of middle aged British nerds on holiday to the San Diego Comic-con, Area 51 and Roswell just to name a few choice destinations. They are the prototype of the nerdy geek fanboy and we love them for it.

Anyway, while leaving a viewing of the famed Black Mailbox, which is even beyond my perceived wealth of geekology, they witness a car crash where they pick up a little green alien named Paul (voiced by Seth Rogen). We could go through the trouble of describing Paul’s personality to you but if you’ve seen a Seth Rogen movie then you pretty much know Paul. Even though this kind of thing doesn’t happen every day, Graeme takes the appearance of a profane pot-smoking little green man with a grain of salt. Clive pees on himself.

Paul is on the run. Our evil government has learned all they can from the alien in the sixty or so years he’s been on Earth and any further knowledge can only be achieved by dissection and to that end the unseen evil female overseer has dispatched her best Man in Black in Agent Zoil (Jason Bateman) to bring Paul back. Preferably dead. So with Clive getting a dry pair of pants it is Road Trip Time! The English geeks and the

alien will bond with one another, drink beer, smoke weed, pick up a one-eyed Christian fundamentalist named Ruth (Kristin Wiig) and smoke more weed with all of this stuff surrounded by as much mayhem, chaos, shenanigans and wacky zaniness than you can shake a stupid stick at. And I can shake a stupid stick at lot of stuff, but it wasn’t enough stick shaking.

‘What could I possibly learn from an ass’ Paul would chastise Graeme upon the geeks concern that he was about to be anally probed. That was just one of the many, many funny lines that spilled out of Seth Rogen’s mouth in this movie. It took an awful lot of nerve for Universal to make the character of Paul as profane as they did, thus assuring themselves an R-Rating for this movie. Sure they could’ve peeled it back some, getting themselves PG-13, maybe get some Burger King merchandising going on the side and thus having parents drag their bratty kids to the show and a make bunch more money off of this movie, but they didn’t do that and we appreciate that. My only complaint is that since they already knew the movie was going to be R-rated, why not insert a load of gratuitous nudity into the film as well. What the hell?

The thing is there are only two things that are unique about this movie. One, of course, is Paul as a pot smoking profane alien but everything else surrounding Paul is pretty much run of the mill. It’s really no different from any other Alien in Distress movie that we’ve seen, with the added bonus of tons and tons and tons of pop-culture references from other movies. The second thing that’s different about ‘Paul’ is it’s unrestrained attacks on Christianity. Hell if I know where that came from but somebody over here has some serious problems with religion in general and Christianity specifically. We could say ‘Oh, it’s just a movie, they’re just poking fun!’ Oh yes, there was a lot of fun-poking in this movie such as comic-cons, asshole authors, hillbilly’s and the like, but the religion angle felt oddly personal. Upon learning that there’s no God, Ruth has come to the conclusion that there’s also no heaven or hell, right or wrong and proceeds to shout expletives, promises to fornicate relentlessly and grabs Graeme’s crotch. Just to throw it out there, but even if there is no God there is still right and wrong, relentless fornication will still be unhealthy and shouting expletives and grabbing people’s crotches in public is still inappropriate behavior. God or no God. Just throwing it out there.

The fact of the matter is I came into this movie expecting ‘Paul’ to be brilliant, as opposed to a very amusing and profane version of ‘E.T.’ meets ‘The Hangover’ that meets ‘The God that Wasn’t There’. The fault in this is all my own since I’m the one who set those expectations so high, not the fault of the filmmakers and director Greg Mottola. Oh, and the guy that cut the trailer. It’s his fault too.

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