Nick Frost and Simon Pegg are on screen together again, and this time they've brought Jason Bateman, Bill Hader, and the voice of Seth Rogen with them. Paul is the story of two comic book geeks from the UK who come to the States for Comic Con, and a tour of UFO hot spots across the western coast. After a freak car accident, they encounter and befriend a small alien named Paul. They take him on board their RV and attempt to elude government agents and help Paul escape Earth and get back home.
Being a huge fan of Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, I knew going in that I was going to dig Paul. Nick and Simon co-wrote this one, and I can't help but feel like those dudes are my kind of people. At the very least I know they make the kinds of movies that people like me really dig. Paul is definitely funny, but unfortunately is my least favorite of the Nick/Simon trilogy although for a reason that you might not be expecting. Or maybe you are, and I've sadly become so very predictable in my old age.
The recipe for greatness is there, Paul has comic books, sci-fi, Comic Con, Slave-girl Leia's, and some pretty effective creature effects, of the computer generated kind, of course. I still prefer practical effects, as we all know, but the CG here is well done, and is pretty much limited only to Paul himself. The story moves along well, with lots of laughs, most of which come courtesy of Jason Bateman and Seth Rogen, although Nick and Simon do have their moments as well. I generally tend to enjoy Bill Hader in most of what he does, in his usual support roles, and Paul is no different. I suppose the easiest way to describe Hader and partner Joe Lo Truglio's duo as the clueless FBI agents is to call them the comic relief, although this is a comedy, and I'm not entirely sure comedies can have comic relief. Eh, either way they were great.
My problem with Paul is the "R" rating. I don't want to sound like a goody-goody or anything, we all know I'm quite fond of profanity, but I couldn't help but feel like the amount here was un-necessary. I guess it's all the rage today to have lots of profanity and male nudity in comedies, and I guess that's why I don't particularly enjoy most of the ones I watch. I don't think dick is funny. While there's none of the frontal male stuff in Paul, the thing that bummed me out about it is that if not for the language, it would be a great flick to watch with the kids. My son had even asked me to take him to see it, but I hesitated to agree to it since I knew Seth Rogen was voicing Paul, and the movie carried the "R" rating.
Aside from that one nitpick, I really enjoyed Paul. It was a "cute" movie that just happened to be full of pointless foul language. Seth Rogen seems determined to make me not like him, and for some reason I seem to be determined to keep trying to like him. I like the dude's voice, I think he's a good actor, he's sometimes funny, but when he's not, he irritates the shit out of me. I can't help but wonder how much of Paul's horrible language came from Seth and not so much from Nick and Simon, as neither Shaun of the Dead nor Hot Fuzz are particularly offensive in that regard. Still, Paul is definitely worth a watch, it's just not one for the kiddies.