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Old February 20 2011, 09:20 AM   #192
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Re: Movies Seen in 2011

I saw Paul, a road trip comedy with a science-fiction spin. It was directed by Greg Mottola, who directed the raunchy but memorable teenage comedy Superbad and the surprisingly affecting Adventureland. It stars, and was written by, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. The duo usually collaborate with writer-producer-director Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz) but he was absent here, and while Paul was a heartfelt and genuinely funny comedy, it was sorely missing Wright's comedic sensibilities.

The movie chronicles two best friends (Pegg and Frost) who travel from the UK to America and attend Comic-Con, with a plan to take a road trip and experience Area 51 and some UFO-inspired destinations along the way. They end up encountering an actual, real UFO who goes by the name of Paul (voiced by Seth Rogen), whilst being chased by federal agents (Jason Bateman, Bill Hader) and encountering wacky supporting characters (featuring a wide range of actors: Kirsten Wiig, Jane Lynch, Blythe Danner and Sigourney Weaver).

The film had a lot going for it with its incredible cast and some truly capable talent behind the camera. However, despite all of this, Paul manages to be only mildly amusing with some genuinely funny moments however they end up feeling contrived and forced. Edgar Wright has some truly ingenious comedic sensibilities, but without Wright, the script written by Pegg and Frost veers too much in the way of bland, generic potty and vulgar humor. There are some moments of inspiration, and the acting across the board is impressive, but I can't help but feeling slightly let down by the film. It's capably directed, however Greg Mottola has directed better movies.

I'm not quite sure how to pin it down, but even though Paul is an above-average road trip comedy with a heartfelt center, I feel like it should have been more memorable or better given the pedigree of talent involved. I guess I just had high hopes and expectations, and I'm probably giving this film a worse review than it deserves. Paul is truly a witty, funny, and genuinely heartfelt comedy with some terrific actors and a droll story. I would definitely recommend the film, if anything to just absorb the clever premise and the talented cast of performers.

It's not as good as it could have been, but it was pretty entertaining and enjoyable nevertheless.
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