What do you get if you throw in a couple of British comedy stars, spicy Holywood director and a Seth Rogen’s voiced alien?
Director: Greg Mottola | Stars: SimonPegg, Nick Frost
Budget: 40 million | Box office: 97 million
Let’s start from the British guys, very talented and enormously respected duo in their island, with every new movie getting more international momentum. Simon Pegg wrote and together with Nick Frost acted in such cult comedy hits as Hot Fuzz and Shaun of the Dead. And now they both created the script for Paul and first time worked together in a Holywood production.
It was led by equally talented Gregg Mottola, who became a one hit wonder after phenomenal success of raunchy teen comedy Superbad. His second big feature Adventureland was a bit misunderstood by public because of wrong marketing approach. People just expected another Superbad, but the new movie was deeper and more personal story with much more subtle jokes, which at least opened the gates for young Jesse Eisenberg’s talent.
And Seth Rogen… Well, there’s nothing too much to comment. I don’t think audience already misses his presence, even as a voice, after The Green Hornet.
So that’s the background. And the story is very simple: two British comic geeks travel from Comic-Con across America to a legendary Area 51 and meet Paul – the alien, whose face since the sixties has become a globally recognized brand. And that’s it, you really don’t need to know more, as with other these guys creations, the less you know the more fun it is to watch.
Trying to sidestep the spoilers, I can say that the storyline is engaging, quite dynamic, there are even some unexpected twists (rarity these days) and the jokes are spot on, the most laughs at least for me coming from small trivial situations. There are some thematic issues though, especially the overstated debate “evolution versus god”. And although the movie by the writers was described as a “love letter to Spielberg”, except for his references, few other connections with sci-fi idols for me were too obvious and unimaginative.
But that doesn’t really mater as the main star and selling point of the movie, Paul, is really cool and believable. In the beginning, of course, you have to adjust to his voice and throw Seth Rogen’s face out of your mind, but very soon you just can relax and even forget about the awesome CGI work of Oscar winning team of Inception and numerous other technical miracles. I especially liked the way Paul moves, wears flip-flops and smokes.
So Paul is truly a great example of UK and Holywood talent collaboration. And the movie can be fully enjoyed not only by comic and sci-fi geeks. The good news is that it was commercially successful, so we can expect more brave and original developments like this. Hopefully not the sequel, though.