March 26, 2023
Ithaca, NY | 53°F


Classic road trip invaded by alien

British comedians, road trips, aliens and pop culture references galore rule supreme in the comedy “Paul.”

These elements are woven together so beautifully in Greg Mottola’s movie that the film ends up being funny and entertaining to both the nerdiest of viewers and those who might not understand the sci-fi references in the plot.

The movie follows Graeme Willy (Simon Pegg) and Clive Gollings (Nick Frost), both actors from movies like “Hot Fuzz” and “Shaun of the Dead,” as they tour the United States’ hottest alien attractions in hopes of discovering an enticing new plot for the comic books they write in England.  On the way they meet Paul, voiced by Seth Rogen, an extraterrestrial who parodies the likes of the aliens in the “Alien” series, E.T. and Yoda from “Star Wars.” The movie acts like a British parody of a classic American road trip movie.

Despite its cheesy and obvious plot line, the movie leaves the audience laughing a light-year a minute. The funniest parts of the film are the homosexual undertones between Willy and Gollings, who are constantly mocked by random extras within the movie for their bromantic relationship. The two are always thought to be a couple, and it does not seem to be a stretch from the truth because of their playful nicknames of Eggy and Bacon.

Rogen is at the top of his game, adding a stoner-slacker’s performance to the extraterrestrial Paul, who, like E.T., has healing powers and becomes close to his human companions. Paul bonds with the human males by making crude jokes, disproving God’s existence to conservatives and smoking a joint that “killed Bob Dylan.”

Paul’s animation is seamless, as his movements are not bulky or slow, but rather fluid and lifelike, making him appear to be an actual alien, instead of a computer generated imagery. At times, it is easy to forget that Frost and Pegg are interacting with no one at all because of Paul’s wonderful animation.

Though it is a parody of the classic road trip genre, the film does leave the audience laughing hard and wanting more. If viewers are interested in a film that’s worth a few chuckles and are willing to go through a road trip story of extraterrestrial proportions, then “Paul” is the film to see.

“Paul” was written by Nick Frost and Simon Pegg and directed by Greg Mottola.

3 out of 4 stars