In Theatres: 
Mar 18, 2011

Aliens in film have typically been portrayed as grotesque looking space creatures that come to Earth to enslave its inhabitants. Not the cuddliest of life forms you would say.  All of that is about to change with the arrival of Paul, an extraterrestrial who landed here in the 1940s and has since been under the supervision of the government at Area 51.

After breaking free from captivity, Paul (Seth Rogen) stumbles upon two sci-fi geeks, Graeme Willy (Simon Pegg) and Clive Gollings (Nick Frost), who help our little green friend find his way back home. It’s not going to be an easy task though as the FBI are hot on their heels and will go to whatever means are necessary to get Paul back for further testing. Graeme and Clive have managed to stumble upon the adventure of a lifetime they’ve only read in comic books.

If you’ve seen Shaun of the Dead or Hot Fuzz, then you know the kind of humor you’re getting into with Paul. Once again, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost put on a hilarious performance, although this time around they are joined by funnyman Seth Rogen who provides the voice of Paul. Imagine if Dale from Pineapple Express was replaced with an alien and you have Paul’s personality in a nutshell. He’s a pot smoking party animal who just so happens to have some cool futuristic abilities as well. Whether he’s joking about anal probing or using his invisibility to sneak up on unsuspecting people, Paul is always looking for a good time, despite the fact that his life is in danger.

You can only have so many alien jokes in a film before things get stale though. Luckily there’s a strong supporting cast that includes the God-loving Ruth (Kristen Wiig) who decides to go on a sinning spree after Paul opens her eyes (literally in this case) to the truth. Watcher her attempt to swear is one of the funniest things you’ll see. Then there’s Agent Lorenzo Zoil (Jason Bateman), one of the top secret agents hot on the trail of Paul. He is joined by dumb (Bill Hader) and dumber (Joe Lo Truglio) who end up getting in the way more than actually helping the case.

You’ll love Paul if you’re a fan of alien or sci-fi films as it pays tribute to some of the greats in the genre. Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Total Recall, The X-Files; the references are abundant and clear. Perhaps the best reference is the appearance of one of the top alien hunters in film. I won’t spoil the fun for you but you can tell early on what kick ass leading lady I’m talking about.

Overall, Paul brings out the sci-fi nerd in all of us with its geeky references and humorous script. Simon Pegg and Nick Frost have once again done for the science fiction genre what Hot Fuzz did for cop films and what Shaun of the Dead did for horror films. I for one welcome our alien invaders if they are all like Paul.

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Matt Rodriguez
Review by Matt Rodriguez
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