Genre: Adventure/Comedy/Sci Fi
Director: Greg Mottola
Cast: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Seth Rogen, Jason Bateman, Kristen Wiig, Bill Hader, Jane Lynch, Sigourney Weaver, Jeffrey Tambor, Blythe Danner, David Koechner, John Carroll Lynch, Jesse Plemons, Joe Lo Truglio, Mia Stallard
RunTime:1 hr 46 mins
Released By: UIP
Rating: NC-16 (Coarse Language And Violence)
Official Website: http://www.whatispaul.com/
Opening Day: 12 May 2011
Synopsis: Simon Pegg and Nick Frost (Hot Fuzz, Shaun of the Dead) reunite for the comedy adventure Paul as two sci-fi geeks whose pilgrimage takes them to America's UFO heartland. While there, they accidentally meet an alien who brings them on an insane road trip that alters their universe forever.
For the past 60 years, an alien named Paul (voiced by Seth Rogen) has been hanging out at a top-secret military base. For reasons unknown, the space-traveling smart ass decides to escape the compound and hop on the first vehicle out of town - a rented RV containing Earthlings Graeme Willy (Pegg) and Clive Collings (Frost).
Chased by federal agents and the fanatical father of a young woman that they accidentally kidnap, Graeme and Clive hatch a fumbling escape plan to return Paul to his mother ship. And as two nerds struggle to help, one little green man might just take his fellow outcasts from misfits to intergalactic heroes.
Yes, every geek out there in the universe wishes to be a hero – just like the heroes in their favourite TV series, comic books and Hollywood movies. A true geek knows every single piece of trivia related to his idol. This probably involves some psychological explanation, but a self respected geek sees himself being the hero in day to day situations. And somehow, he can always envision himself saving the day every time he sees a movie like this one directed by Greg Mottola.
It’s times like this when we feel proud to be movie geeks.
The science fiction comedy movie written by Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, who are best known for their starring roles in Shaun of the Dead (2004) and Hot Fuzz (2007). Here, the English comedians play two British comic book geeks traveling across the United States and come across an alien outside the famed secret military installation Area 51. The duo help the alien escape the compound on their rented RV. What ensues is a road trip adventure involving menacing federal agents, a lovely Christian girl, a overly controlling father and an old woman who has suffered years of ridicule because of what she saw 60 years ago.
Sounds like a hoot? It definitely is, thanks to the sharply humourous script written by Pegg and Frost. Who better to portray the two best friends than the people who created them on paper? Science fiction fans will have a blast of a time identifying the countless references to other science fiction films. Look out (or should we say, listen out) for a cameo by Steven Spielberg, the man who gave the world E.T. (1982). One would almost wish he was on set at Comic Con convention with the stars, soaking in the fandom that only those with a fine appreciation for comics and related popular art can understand.
After numerous collaborations, Pegg and Frost have a natural chemistry, so much so that it is used as a gay joke in the movie. Their co stars include Jason Bateman as a shady government agent hot on the protagonists’ heels, Bill Hader and Joe Lo Truglio as two inept FBI agents, Kristen Wiig as a creationist Christian who is about to have her life changed forever, John Carroll Lynch as a violent father, Blythe Danner as a shamed old lady and the Alien busting Sigourney Weaver as, well, an alien busting villain. This ensemble cast delivers performances that will have viewers breaking out in laughter throughout the movie’s 106 minute runtime.
The production values aren’t too shoddy either – the $40 million production boasts of impressive computer generated graphics and special effects that are on par with a modest Hollywood blockbuster. Perhaps the attraction of the production is none other than Paul, the titular alien himself. Completely created by CGI, this foul mouthed joker voiced by Seth Rogen gets a large amount of screen time. Audiences would marvel at the close up shots of this creature, and may just want to reach out to touch its reptile like skin and crystal blue eyes.
The movie is clearly a love letter to science fiction movies, and its brand of humour is witty and sometimes rather naughty. It’s a movie all geeks and, dare we say it, earthlings would enjoy.
(This one’s for the members of Sci Fi Movie Geeks United!)
Review by John Li