Monday, 23 July 2012

Paul



Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. Need I say more? Both have had their individual movies, but they never feel like proper characters unless they're together. Of the two films they've done together, I like one. Shaun of the Dead never drew me in. I never felt for any of the characters, and it ultimately failed to make me laugh other than one or two scenes. Hot Fuzz, on the other hand, I love. Consistently funny and nicely laid out, I can hardly fault it. "Paul" received mixed to positive reviews from critics, and finished with 71% on the Tomatometer (as opposed to 91% on both SOTD and Hot Fuzz), so which of their previous films would it relate to more? 

"Paul" is very straightforward. Graeme and Clive (Simon Pegg and Nick Frost) are two best friends from England who have travelled to America to attend the annual Comic-Con event. Afterwards, they set off on a road-trip across the states to visit all the major extra-terrestrial related sites they know of. But, when a car crashes and wrecks right in front of them, they're plans are changed. This is because no person steps out of the car; Paul the alien does, named so after the dog he crushed when he landed for the first time. He is need of help. With the FBI after them, and the father of a woman they recently invited into their journey hot on their heels, can Graeme and Clive get Paul back home safely? 

Like I said, straightforward. Straightforward, but effective. "Paul" has got to be one of the easiest films to watch ever. There's really no concentration required, other than the concentration needed to sit through an hour and a half of profanity. That's the films main flaw, and the comedy is patchy. Other than that, it's great fun, and another good adventure from Pegg and Frost! 

I'll start with the comedy. It is there, don't get me wrong, but it every joke comes with its own dose of swearing. They pick up a woman called Ruth (Kristen Wiig) who has just learnt that swearing is OK. Therefore, she starts cursing in every sentence, which does get a little tiring. It wears off towards the end when the heart finally arrives, but it is a little off-putting. The comedy is a bit uneven, too. We are treated with an absolutely hilarious 10 minutes, then all the comedy stops. Then it all comes back again! Then it stops. Then it all comes back again! Then it stops. Then it all- yeah, you get the idea. To be fair though, there is more comedy than dull moments, so it's not all bad. 

I liked the story too, simple, easy to follow. Lovely Jubbly. There are quite a few characters, but they all have their own stuff to do, so they're easy to know. Graeme and Clive are obviously the main characters, and they do get the most screen time, but Paul stole the film for me. He never fails to get a laugh, and he's just really likeable. The acting is solid all round, so not much to complain about here. 

Now, before watching this, I had been warned about the number of inside references to other sci-fi films, mainly made by Steven Spielberg. I noticed pointers to some of Pegg and Frost's previous work before as well, with them mentioning that farmers in England have guns (from Hot Fuzz). The references help though, it gives the film a spoofy (if that even is a word) attitude, and does hold a lot of laughs. They make a change from the constant "let's chuck in the F word here to make this scene funny" feel. 

Overall, though, "Paul" is solidly entertaining. It never gets dull, but it does feel as if it's lacking the heart and emotion it needed to give it some emphasis. We get this at the end though, so it's not all bad. I haven't seen a brilliant comedy in a long time. The last comedy I saw was Hangover 2, which was OK, but disappointing. I'm hopefully seeing Bad Teacher when it comes out, so who knows if it will up the game of previous comedies this year, or if "Paul" will keep its crown. 

To Summarise: Funny, different, and entertaining, but lacking heart, "Paul" makes for a fun comedy experience.



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