Paul, the latest film by British writer/actor Simon Pegg and his usual cohort Nick Frost (this time not only sharing acting duties with Pegg but also writing credits), is another take off of a genre…this time science fiction.
Paul has many quirky characters and an original plot with moments of tenderness mixed in for sincerity. Pegg and Frost once again make a strong comedy duo and the addition of Seth Rogan in Paul only adds to the comedy.
Rogan (not usually a fav of mine) scores as the voice of the alien title character who Frost and Pegg pick up while on a road trip of famous alien sites in the American Southwest (Area 51, Roswell, New Mexico, etc.). Rogan’s dry delivery and laid back style make Paul the perfect comic alien. Sigourney Weaver returns to the “alien” genre here…though in a much different role than Ripley from the Alien series and Jason Bateman also adds to the laughs with his overly-serious FBI alien hunter.
Watching Paul, I wanted to like it more. Why? Because I so, so, so LOVED Pegg and Frost’s 2007 outing together in the action movie parody Hot Fuzz.
Don’t get me wrong…I liked Paul. But, it’s no Hot Fuzz. I also felt this way after I watched Pegg and Frost’s 2004 film Shaun of the Dead, a spoof of horror films… specifically the zombie genre. Shaun, like Paul, has great moments but over-all, it lacks that special something I think Fuzz achieves and made it one of my favorite comedies of the last several years…laughing so hard I couldn’t breathe.
Fuzz is about Nicholas Angel, a hot-shot London cop who gets reassigned from London to a small English village because he’s too good at his job, making everyone look bad. The small village’s police force consists of a bunch of crackpots.
Nick gets assigned simple-minded Danny as a partner and the repartee between Nick and Danny is just priceless. Danny’s slow-wit counteracts perfectly with Nick’s over-confident policing. When Danny is forced to become a real police officer and fight real crime, the laughs do not stop! Everything about Fuzz was close-to-perfect – the writing, timing, acting. It’s what all comedy movies should aspire to be.
Pegg and friends have spoofed horror with Shaun, action with Fuzz and now sci fi with Paul. I’m waiting for the romantic tearjerker spoof (maybe titled The Way We Weren’t), the rom com spoof (how about Sleepless in Slough?), and especially the Hitchcockian thriller spoof (Strangers on the Tube? Or South by Southeast about a man chased from London to Dover?). Well, regardless what Pegg and Frost do next, I know one thing for sure – it will be funny, entertaining and a must see!
Paul: 2011, rated R, 104 minutes, directed by Greg Mottola, starring Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Jason Bateman, Sigourney Weaver, Bill Hader and Seth Rogan. The Niles Library owns copies of this title on DVD.
Hot Fuzz: 2007, rated R, 121 minutes, directed by Edgar Wright, starring Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Jim Broadbent, Timothy Dalton, Paddy Considine and Rafe Spall. The Niles Library owns copies of this title on DVD.
Shaun of the Dead: 2004, rated R, 99 minutes, directed by Edgar Wright, starring Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Lucy Davis and Kate Ashfield. The Niles Library owns copies of this title on DVD.