Greg Mottola, Universal Pictures, 2011.
Starring Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Seth Rogen, Kristen Wiig, and Jason Bateman.
Genre: Adventure, Comedy, Sci-Fi
Question: On a scale of 1 -10 where would you say you fall on as being a geek - with 10 being the highest? After growing up on watching reruns of Star Trek, the original Battlestar Gallactica and Buck Rogers, I would say I am right around the 3 mark, but after finishing the movie Paul I might have to bump it up.
I won't say it because if you know me, you know why I watched this movie, right? And it wasn't for the sci-fi story.
The movie began and I was almost immediately reminded of another movie: Close Encounters of the Third Kind but I brushed it aside because soon Simon Pegg came on the screen. YAY! He and his best friend and "business" partner, played by Nick Frost, were at Comic-Con - the geek mecca. That is not an insult. I was actually invited to go next year and am considering it. (Okay, maybe I'm, a little more of a geek than I thought. Let's bumped it up to 4 now.) Anyway, the two friends come to America to fulfill a lifelong dream of attending Comic-Con and then travelling the path of UFO's or unexplained phenomenon that occurred in the Southwest - in an RV, no less.
By the time the British pair began their journey I will admit I was a bit bored with the film. And that was within the first fifteen minutes. Something was just off on the storytelling but a hint or reminder, or better yet, several references to other sci-fi movies would pop up from time to time. That kept my interest. (Okay, maybe need to add on one more notch on the geek rating - let's say 5 is where I am at.) Anyway...their adventure begins.
Soon thereafter, an alien named Paul and voiced by Seth Rogen arrives in the story, and it was hard for me to keep going. There would be an occasional funny line or two but the movie was trying too hard. I won't go into detail, as usual, but the storytelling was just flat by this point. I so wanted it to be better especially for my love of all things Simon Pegg - okay, I will give myself another point for that one - what are we up to now? 6?
About halfway through Kristen Wiig's character had me interested again - by merely vocalizing some of what I presume to be a lot of improvisational sayings. Honestly, I would giggle almost every time she spoke. Then the moment came - I suddenly was jealous of her character. I won't say why but I totally envy that woman.
Did I enjoy the movie by this point or had it gotten funnier? Somewhat. I read somewhere there weren't as many movie references in Paul as you might think but I saw them left and right especially towards the end: Star Wars, Aliens, ET, Raiders of the Lost Ark and that made me happy. (Alright, should I say 7 or 8 now? Geesh). The movie was very reminiscent of all things Steven Spielberg and George Lucas - two of the most influential movie-makers of the last 30 years and who may have helped me reach number 8 now on the geek scale since I am a huge fan of a lot of their movies. Unfortunately, this movie wasn't all that funny and usually Simon Pegg cracks me with whatever he does. Not this time.
All-in-all Paul was a mediocre movie that had the potential to be more. Something felt like either too much was missing or I would have made this movie a complete homage to the sci-fi movie gods. It fell somewhere in between. However, this movie made me realize I am a pretty huge sci-fi geek, but at least I never dressed up as Princess Leia for Halloween...oh wait, DAMN...as an adult, no less...Yep, I am a full-on geek!
My favorite thing: A line about a t-shirt towards the end.
My least favorite thing: That the movie wasn't better.
Length: 104 minutes
Review: 4 out of 10
Click on film posters below to watch Simon Pegg's films: