MOVIE REVIEW: Paul
A road trip from San Diego to Area 51
Crowds always like when a singer in concert gives a shout-out to the city they're in. Apparently they like it in movies, too. When two comic book loving geeks from the U.K. (Simon Pegg and Nick Frost) walked through the Gaslamp Quarter and end up at the Convention Center, everyone in the theatre applauded.
Pegg and Frost movies never look that funny in commercials, which is why I skipped Shaun of the Dead. I was dragged to Hot Fuzz, and was glad I caught the great parody of cop films.
Now, just as a lot of the movie references went over heads in Rango, a few will in Paul. I didn’t get the Mac and Me stuff, but I got everything else, like the Capturing the Freidman’s line (assume most won’t get it). There are lots of little comments people make upon hearing the British accents that are funny. There’s a suspicious cop asking about police not carrying guns in England and asking “How do you shoot people?”
There is the funniest evolution/creationism debate you may ever see in a film. It’s hilarious because of the writing, and the always reliable Kristen Wiig from SaturdayNight Live. She plays a religious nut that’s missing an eye and sporting a shirt that has Jesus shooting Darwin. When she goes on a blue streak and curses up a storm, it’s funnier than the scene in The King’s Speech. Wiig’s SNL cast member and co-star in Adventureland, Bill Hader, always makes me laugh in movies (I wish he did on SNL). He and Jason Bateman have fun roles as FBI agents.
Jane Lynch is great as a sassy waitress at a desert coffee shop, and David Koechner is great as an angry redneck hunter. Sigourney Weaver was fun in her role in Cedar Rapids and is okay in this. Blythe Danner has a nice small part near the end; and Jeffrey Tambor, as a popular science fiction writer that hates meeting fanboys, is absolutely perfect. There’s a really big cameo (sort of), that I didn’t think worked, but everyone else will love.
It has a nice soundtrack with a lot of ‘70s stuff, including ELO, Todd Rundgren, Marvin Gaye’s Got to Give it Up,and a few songs perfect for the alien theme: Dancing in the Moonlight (King Harvest), Planet Claire (B-52s), and the funniest cover song you’ll see in a film all year - a country western band, fiddles and all, playing in a honky-tonk roadhouse the song that the aliens in Star Wars played in the cantina.
At an hour and 40 minutes, the movie is the perfect length, too. Any longer and the gags would’ve gotten tired.
If you like your comic book aliens with three breasts, this is the movie for you.
I’m giving it a B.