Reviewed by GREG KING

Director: Greg Mottola

Stars: Nick Frost, Simon Pegg, Jason Bateman, Seth Rogen, Kristen Wiig, Sigourney Weaver.

Paul is part road movie, part buddy comedy and another variation on the familiar aliens amongst us scenario. There have been numerous movies about aliens visiting Earth – ET, Close Encounters Of The Third Kind, Starman, and even Men In Black – but this entertaining comedy subverts many of the usual cliches of the sci-fi genre. Although some of its gags and cliches are obvious, Paul is still a lot of fun.

Simon Pegg and Nick Frost (from the wonderful Shaun Of The Dead and Hot Fuzz) play Clive and Graeme, two sci-fi fans who are in America to attend the annual Comic Con show in San Diego. Following that they hit the road in an RV, intending to visit some of the key sites of alien lore in the US – Roswell, Area 51, etc. Somewhere in the desert they come across Paul, a diminutive green alien, although as voiced by Seth Rogen, he is not your typical alien – he swears, smokes, and generally has a laid back attitude.

Paul landed on Earth in 1947, and not only has he been helping the US military prepare for a likely alien invasion, but he has also helped the entertainment industry. According to Paul he advised no less than Steven Spielberg for the look of his classic ET, and he created the character of Mulder for the hit tv series The X-Files. But now his usefulness is at an end, and the military is preparing to dissect him to learn more about him. Paul manages to escape, and that is how he manages to cross paths with our two heroes. A zealous government agent (played with relish by Jason Bateman) is pursuing him.

Rogen is perfectly cast here, and even though we never see him, his on-screen persona easily inhabits the character. Kristen Wiig is also very good as a one-eyed religious fanatic. Sigourney Weaver also contributes her formidable presence in a role that pays off in surprising fashion.

Although some of its gags and cliches are obvious, Paul is still a lot of fun. This is Pegg and Frost’s first US outing, and instead of their regular director Edgar Wright they have Greg Mottola (better known for the raunchy teen comedy Superbad) at the helm. As is to be expected, the humour is cheeky and often quite crude, although there is unexpected warmth beneath the surface.




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