PG Cooper: Paul Review

Posted: April 9, 2011 by Daniel Simpson (PG Cooper) in PG Cooper's Movie Reviews

Release date: March 18th, 2011

Written by: Simon Pegg and Nick Frost

Directed by: Greg Mottola

Starring: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Seth Rogen, Kristen Wig, and Jason Bateman

Oh man, I had no idea what to think going into this. On one hand, it’s from Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, who were part of the creative team that brought us Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. On the other, it got a very weak review from this blog’s HT Schuyler, who is a bigger fan of Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz than I am. So I really wasn’t sure what to think. But I had an afternoon to kill, so I decided to risk it and check it out. So does Paul live up to the other works of Pegg and Frost, or was HT Schuyler right all along.

Paul tells the story of two British nerds, Graeme (Simon Pegg) and Clive (Nick Frost) who have planned the ultimate nerd tour of America. They’re gonna hit up the San Diego comic con, then tour all the famous alien hot spots of the States. On the journey though, they came across an actual alien named Paul (voiced by Seth Rogen). Though there is some early mishap, they end up banding together to bring Paul home while running into some new characters along the way while being chased by a group of government men, led by Special Agent Lorenzo Zoil (Jason Bateman).

I really like the set up for this film. I mean for a geek comedy, you can’t get much better than that. The script also does a fairly decent job of introducing all these characters into the story. Plus, I like the idea that Paul’s image has been fed to the world over the years through media. But the script drops the ball on the most crucial level for the this film; the humour. A lot of the jokes in this film aren’t funny. So many of the jokes are cheap gags based on swear words, or a sexual joke, or a lazy sci-fi reference. There’s also a lot of very obvious set ups to jokes that just aren’t funny. It’s a shame because I think this premise would have been so perfect for a geek comedy like this.

It may not be fair to compare this to Pegg and Frost’s older films since they were directed by Edgar Wright and this is Greg Mottola. That said, it’s impossible not to compare them. I mean, you see Pegg and Frost together in a buddy comedy and you can’t help but think of their classic films. Paul isn’t as good as those films (obviously), but I will say Pegg and Frost still have that chemistry between the two of them, and they make for a good duo. Paul himself is kind of fun too. I mean, a lot of the jokes he has aren’t that funny, and a lot of the funnier lines are ones you’ve already seen in the trailers, but he’s still a likable character. Mainly because off his care free attitude. It’s hard to dislike someone like that.

The rest of the supporting cast is very VERY mixed. And by mixed, I mean I liked Jason Bateman, all the other characters pissed me off. Kristen Wig, I know nothing of her as an actress, but she was really bad in this. I wanted her to just go away every time she was on-screen. And her extremely forced romance with Graeme felt awkward and forced. The two bumbling agents working under Bateman (Bill Hader and Joe Lo Truglio) are so very annoying. Thank god Bateman was always there when they were to make their scenes more tolerable. There’s a lot of cameos too. Some of them are okay. Jane Lynch was alright in hers, and the Spielberg cameo was one of my favourite parts of the film. But other cameos I didn’t like at all. Jeffrey Tambor makes a cameo as a fictional comic book writer who Clive and Graeme meet at comic con. While the scene was alright, I think it would have been a lot funnier if they actually got a real comic book writer to play himself, but play himself like an a**hole. Another thing I’d change is I’d take out Sigourney Weaver and put a different actress in. Mainly because Weaver has made an unforgettable mark on science fiction with her Ripley character from the Alien movies being among the most famous in sci-fi history. So for her to play a role in a movie like this just feels awkward and I find it distracting. If she were playing herself, that be okay, but she isn’t.

Watching Paul made me feel like I was hanging around with a bunch of nerdy losers. Every so often they’d say something I’d find funny, or make reference to some nerdy thing that I find cool, but at the end of the day, they’re still losers, and they still annoy me. Watching this film just made me sad and made me wish I was watching Hot Fuzz or Shaun of the Dead. I will say the CG on Paul is very impressive, and there’s even some decent action scenes. These things, plus the chemistry between the three leads and some funny jokes do bring the film up a bit, but only a bit. I wanted to love this movie, but I really can’t. Edgar Wright by himself made Scott Pilgrim, and Pegg and Frost being by themselves led to Paul. I think it’s about time these guys got back together and make another great film, instead of these mediocre ones.

Rating: C-

  1. ianthecool says:

    Hey, whats wrong with being nerdy!?

  2. Ki says:

    you need to change the photo that you had because the one you had has been blocked and also for Source Code, thought you should know.

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