Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Review - Paul (2011)

“Clive likes boning space bears!”

Starring: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost,
Seth Rogen, Kristen Wig, Jason Bateman
Director: Greg Mottola
Writers: Nick Frost, Simon Pegg

Mr Pegg and Mr Frost please stand up and take a bow. Along with your boy Mr Wright, you’ve given the nerd/geek community some of the finest examples of movie and television. Ah yes there was Spaced which was just a brilliant show, and while many people cry out into the night wanting a third season, it doesn’t bother me as I’m grateful for the two I got. There of course is also the Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, and I will say Mr Pegg I thought you were one of the finest Scotty’s to ever out Scotty, a Scotty in a Scotty competition since Welshy. If you understood that last sentence, then congratulations. Anyway, where was I. Oh yes, Pegg and Frost are great and this new movie just reinforces their greatness. But is it a perfect movie? That’s the question, so now read on and find out.

Well the story is pretty solid, two nerds on a road trip find a real alien on the run from shadowy types. You can see the brains of Frost and Pegg through this entire thing, yet there does seem to be something a little lacking. In the beginning the movie does move slow and doesn’t really pick up till Paul (the alien for those who’ve been living under a rock) enters the fray. From there the film chugs along at a good pace with jokes landing thick and fast. Yet whenever I try and gather my feelings about the two main characters Graeme (Pegg) and Clive (Frost), I just feel meh. Personally I don’t think they are as well developed as they could be, and there relationship didn’t really get highlighted until later on into the film. I think perhaps the problem could be the balance of an actual humorous story and jokes for the sake of jokes, it sounds like a weird complaint but sometimes you’ve got to drop a joke just to let the story breathe and be funnier in the long run. Unlike previous efforts these two elements don’t gel as well; maybe it’s director Greg Mottola fault. Maybe what this film needed was Edgar Wright to sort things out and bring more focus. Still I need to stress that this is just a small gripe, the movie is still funny as hell, and the nerd/geek crowd are just going to eat it up.

Acting wise everyone brings their A game, and one thing that works damn well is the main alien dude Paul. Seth Rogen lends his voice to the character and it’s a perfect fit, he’s both rude and yet a pal at the same time. Rogen really does breathe life into Paul and as such makes us care about this CGI creation. Kristen Wig is also a delight as Ruth. I won’t get too much into her character as it does revolve around plot stuff, which is better watched than told, but her adventures into swearing are really funny. Of course the two boys Frost and Pegg are perfect in their roles, I would have maybe liked a little more exposition in regards to their relationship, but there are enough small visual cues and an easy chemistry that at least fill in some of the blanks. Finally I have to say Jason Bateman as Agent Zoil is just awesome. Anything he is in, he brings a little bit of fried gold to the proceedings, and it was also nice to see him in a more competent character role and actually shows that he has a great range which will serve him well in years to come.

Visually Greg Mottola gets the job done but it’s nothing to write home about. There are a lot of little in jokes and science fiction references through out the film but I can’t help but feel that we can thank Pegg and Frost for that. Also I can’t help but feel that there was a wasted opportunity in what was shot at Comic Con. A little more time could have been spent there and at the same time bolstered the relationship of Frost and Pegg earlier on to allow for a bigger impact of the introduction of Paul to the friends. Still at the end of the day Mottola didn’t screw up the movie and the laughs still come, so I should probably stop being so harsh on this movie.

Overall I had a really good time with Paul, and while it may seem that I’m harsh on it, it’s only because while it’s funny, it isn’t up there with Shaun or Hot Fuzz in my books. Of course this shouldn’t be expected just because this movie teams up Frost and Pegg, and maybe in the respects you should take this review with a grain of salt. However I do feel that if Wright was on board to direct this film, the movie could have really hit some high notes and have been a classic. Still if you’re after a good solid comedy, you won’t be wasting your money. Paul may be rude but he’s still classy in my book.

1 comment:

  1. Glad to see I wasn't the only one who enjoyed it. Alas, in my cinema, it seemed like I was the only one who really got some of the references - and judging by who else was there on my way out, that was kinda sad.

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