Monday, March 21, 2011
E.T meets Road Trip (Close Encounters of the Nerd Kind was Already Taken): A Review of Paul
Speaking of the talent involved, it is immense: the two main characters, Graeme and Willy, portrayed by Pegg and Frost, are two nerds from England who take a holiday to the U.S. to go to Comic-Con and travel in an RV to all of the UFO tourist hot spots. Their nerd fantasy becomes nerd reality when a visitor from another galaxy, Paul, enters their life. If you have seen the trailer for this movie, it wouldn't have taken much to recognize that the alien's voice is none other than Seth Rogen. This is a benefit to the film and also a detriment. I figured that Rogen's voice would become annoying, like nails on a chalkboard, but that simply wasn't the case: Rogen gives some of his most charming work here. But that doesn't change the fact that the alien Paul just is Seth Rogen. He speaks in sarcasm and excessive vulgarity, he smokes pot and is rude but also has lovable moments. He even dresses like a slacker. Although he is amusing most of the time and hilarious sometimes, I can't help but think that a less recognizable voice in the role of Paul would have been more successful. There are other great characters too: without giving too much away, we learn that Paul's spacecraft has crashed a long time ago, and he has just recently escaped his captors and wants to signal a ship to come pick him up. This involves a journey across cities and states. But this isn't all just fun and games. A group of federal agents are after him, two of which are played with wonderful villainy by SNL's Bill Hader and Arrested Development's Jason Bateman. There are a plethora of funny moments in Paul, and I was smiling most of the film. It just wasn't hilarious.