Let me get this out of the way first; if you fail to see Paul during its theatrical run you must immediately turn in your geek card and jacket. It is your duty as a science fiction loving geek to see this movie. The third big screen team up of Simon Pegg and Nick Frost is a loving tribute to science fiction, just as Shawn of the Dead did zombie movies and Hot Fuzz did action flicks. And if you love Star Wars, Spielberg, and everything celebrated at Comic Con; you’ll love this movie. In fact, Paul is probably the closest thing we’ll ever get to a Spaced movie.
Pegg is Graeme, and Frost is Clive; two British nerds who finally made the pilgrimage to the San Diego Comic Con. After experiencing the Con and realize how much they belong there; they decide to rent a RV and take a scenic trip through the major UFO hot spots in the US beginning with Area 51 and ending at Roswell. While in the Nevada desert they run into an escaped Alien who goes by the name Paul (CGI, voiced by Seth Rogan) who needs their help to escape his pursuers.
Put this premise in the hands of anyone else and you’d get a standard raunchy road comedy, but in the hands of Pegg and Frost (two guys who love Star Wars) you get a comedy infused with science fiction in-jokes the like of which haven’t been seen since Spaced. Throughout the movie Star Wars, E.T., Close Encounters, Jaws, Battlestar Galactica, Aliens, and even Duel are referenced; and some of them you really need to look for. Some things are right there, such as lines from those movies, while others are cleverly hidden such as the bars they stop at throughout the movie that bear names of Spielberg characters (Gertie and Roy).
And despite the movie’s R rating, it really isn’t as raunchy as some people may lead you to believe. The R is really there for the language, and in fact the movie can be really sweet at times. Seth Rogan’s voicing of Paul really makes him enduring to people, and almost any scifi fan can completely identify with Graeme and Clive. They’re us, and it’s obvious that both Pegg and Frost really know the stuff they’re writing about, and the people they’re writing it for.
I love both Shawn of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, but I really love Paul. As a scifi geek, this is not only one of my favorite movies in the last few years, but it’s easily one of my favorites of all time. I plan to see it a few more times before it leaves theaters, and then count down the days until I can own it on Blu-Ray. It met, and at times, exceeded my expectations. Paul comes with the highest recommendation. Go see it.