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April 22, 2011

Movie Review: Paul (2011)

There is something beautiful about the collaboration between Nick Frost and Simon Pegg. I think it must be that it is a genuine friendship. It comes out in everything they do together. Shaun of the Dead was a brilliant zombie parody. Hot Fuzz tore the action blockbuster buddy cop movie to shreds. I love them both, especially the latter. Paul does something completely different. It's a road picture of sorts, and it's also a big ensemble comedy. It's also one of the most genuinely sweet movies I've ever seen.

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Clive and Graeme are two friends from England who create sci-fi comic books. They are fulfilling their childhood dream of traveling to San Diego Comicon and touring the great alien sighting locations of America. As they leave San Diego in a big RV, they run into a few unsavory characters. One of those is an alien named Paul. Paul is trying to get away from a government facility in order to get picked up by his people at a rendezvous point. Paul convinces our unlikely heroes, and they run into one problem after another.

The cast is spectacular. Jason Bateman is an agent hot on their trail, and he is hell bent on getting at Paul before anyone else does. His boss is a familiar voice that anyone should recognize, but if you don't, it's a nice reveal later in the movie. He ends up leading two agents who are in the dark about the situation, but one of them, played by Bill Hader, is starting to figure things out, while his partner, played by Joe Lo Trruglio, remains clueless.

Kristen Wiig is Ruth, who accidentally gets kidnapped by Clive, Graeme and Paul. John Carroll Lynch (who I've loved watching since The Drew Carey Show) plays her dad, who will not give up until he finds his daughter. David Koechner, Jane Lynch, Blythe Danner, Jeffrey Tambor, Jesse Plemmons and Seth Rogen round out the cast with well played characters.

As I've pointed out in previous reviews, compiling a cast like this can often be an overcompensation for a weak script, but this is not the case with Paul. I laughed throughout the entire movie, and all of the characters had a place. As I said before, the story is very sweet. While Paul can be crass and a little offensive, he's very caring and compassionate. The best thing is the abundance of little nothing jokes that really get you. Paul is very well written and perfectly executed. Pegg and Frost do wonders yet again, and they will continue to get me into that theater seat.

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