And I’m Ignatiy Vishnevetsly of mubi.com. Our first film is the sci-fi comedy PAUL, about a couple of English nerds fulfilling their lifelong dream of visiting America. After hitting San Diego's ComicCon, they rent an RV, planning to visit famous UFO sites. On an empty stretch of highway, they witness a car crash and discover that the driver is in fact an alien who has escaped from a top secret government facility.
Clip 5 (Paul introduces himself)
The Brits are played by Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, who also co-wrote the film.
Clip 1(Clive tries to kill Paul)
Eventually, the three are joined by Ruth, an evangelical RV park operator played by Kristen Wiig.
Clip 2(Graeme & Ruth talk about kissing)
PAUL starts strong with a lot of affectionate, funny jokes about geek culture, book signings, UFOs and comic book conventions, but it eventually falls into self-parody. The second half of PAUL is heavy on gunfire and explosions, but it seems to be designed less as an action-comedy and more as just a series of scenes where the audience is expected to recognize a pop culture reference and applaud.
Yeah there are like two different kinds of buddy bro-mance movies just slammed up against one another here because you have the Simon Pegg, Nick Frost style and I love Shawn of the Dead and I love Hot Fuzz and that’s it’s own kind of dry, British, geeky thing. And then you have Greg Mottola who directed this, who did Superbad…you have Seth Rogen and it’s a whole different kind of Judd Apatow school of raunchy humor and they never ever fit together nicely. Even though visually the Paul effects are pretty seamless because it’s motion capture so he actually seems in the same space as the humans, so that part’s good, but that’s about it.
Well, you know what, I’d say that those two different kinds of comedy work together pretty well in the first 40 minutes. I feel like this film is like two breaks. I think when Kristen Wiig is introduced that’s where it starts to veer into broader and broader comedy. And I think, like there’s a scene where the characters are walking down the street and you see a marquee for a theater that is playing Steven Spielberg’s Duel is a moment where it really starts to veer into this world of nothing but pop culture references where they’re often not even jokes, but just two distinguished actresses punching each other in the face while shouting lines from Aliens.
Right, so one can get the famous Aliens line in…there’s a Reese’s Pieces reference, there’s the big mountain in Close Encounters…yeah it’s all piled on and there’s no story.
You know I think Mottola is a very good director. It’s really a shame, you know this, especially towards the end where we’re recalling Jay and Silent Bob strikes Back.