Paul (Contains Spoilers)

Film poster for PaulJust going to show that there is hope for the hopeless-at-love yet, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost have released their latest comedic masterpiece Paul to coincide with Valentine’s Day. A deliberate stunt against a holiday made up by card companies? Perhaps, but personally I’ve been looking forward to this new film from the Spaced duo for quite a while. And I have to say right away, I was not disappointed!

Paul has been a film on the cards for quite a while, originally coming from some doodles Simon Pegg did on the set of a previous movie. The character Paul eventually developed from these doodles into the wise-cracking, foul-mouthed slacker from another planet this film centres around. Graeme Willy (Pegg) and Clive Gollings (Frost) are two man-child geeks on a dream journey around the famous UFO sighting hot-spots of the U.S. after going to Comic-Con and meeting their literary hero. Mid-way through their geeky road trip in their RV, they encounter a crashed car and have a not-so-brief encounter with a chain-smoking, cargo shorts clad alien named Paul (Seth Rogen) who crash landed in the area 60 years ago. Graeme and Clive set out on a mission to help their new slacker extra-terrestrial BFF “phone home” and get back to his own planet before the FBI take him back into captivity and cut him up to harvest his alien powers.

Ok, so it’s perhaps not the most original plot, after Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz played so heavily on their twists on expectations, but it’s really the characters that make Paul what it is. Part of the brilliance of Paul is that Pegg and Frost are pretty much playing themselves – geeky yet totally lovable man-children who are secretly very creative, funny and talented at art and writing (Clive is an author and Graeme is his illustrator). Even Seth Rogen plays the same character he normally does – the foul-mouthed, weed-smoking slacker who speaks his mind with very little thought or tact behind what he’s saying. The kind of person you wouldn’t really associate with in real life (unless you were one yourself), but you love to watch to see what they’ll do next. It’s not really a far cry from his character in Pineapple Express who he normally plays, but instead of getting samey like you would think, it works in his favour in Paul.

As can only be expected from a script written by Pegg and Frost, there are sci-fi film references a-plenty throughout Paul – everything from E.T. to Jaws, Aliens to Star Trek gets a nod in some way or another, and with cameos from Sigourney Weaver, Jane Lynch (surprisingly enough not being Sue Sylvester from Glee for once!) and Jeffrey Tambor, Paul is a veritable treasure hunt of “spot the film reference”!

I’d also like to point out that, although I didn’t get it at first and had to look it up, Agent Lorenzo Zoyle is another film reference – it’s a very old Nick Nolte and Susan Sarandon film called Lorenzo’s Oil, which is why Jason Bateman does that little double-take as Pegg and Frost repeat his name together, as if he hadn’t even realised it before! It did take a bit of searching on my behalf, but because I noticed how many searches were turning up this post, I decided I should make a point of it. You’re searches are over, people! That is the answer!

The only thing that really faults Paul is that Edgar Wright wasn’t on board as director this time round. Not that Greg Mottola didn’t do a brilliant job with Paul – in fact, its amazing Pegg and Frost managed to find someone as on-the-level with them as Wright is – but I couldn’t help feeling like some bits would have benefitted from Wright’s input, such as avoiding the inevitable Hollywood ending, but it ends up working all the same.

If you were to get excited about any film this month, then Paul is definitely that film! Paul gets an intergalactic 9 out of 10 stars for its genius comedy and effort on all fronts from the cast and writers. Another triumph for Simon Pegg and Nick Frost!

6 Comments

  1. Do you think Edgar Wright didn’t direct is because they are British? Remember during Kick Ass the director was happy to not have a British person in his film for once, until he found out the main guy was? Maybe the same thing is happening to Edgar Wright! Your title says contains spoilers, but I don’t feel as if the movie has been spoiled for me, I have no idea what happens to them int he end or how their characters change. Although the photo gave away what they look like?

    • No. Edgar Wright has directed all of their previous works, including Spaced, Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz and has built up a career with them together. So thats definitely not the reason at all. And it wasn’t Kick-Ass, it was Scott Pilgrim. Matthew Vaughn directed Kick-Ass, Edgar Wright directed Scott Pilgrim Vs The World, and the reason he wanted to not have any British members on the cast was because he wanted it to be his first fully American cast to make a new direction from having purely British casts. It’s also the reason that Simon Pegg was at the Scott Pilgrim Premiere. I put that it had spoilers in it because I said that it has a Hollywood ending, which over here means that “everyone lives happily” at the end, thus taking away any tension that might have been held at the last part of the film.

  2. Hi! I really like your take on this movie. It was fun, and I agree, with the genius of simon pegg and nick frost there were a few things that could have been uhmmmmm less cheesy perhaps if they had the other director???

    There is one sentence above that you might want to edit again (remove is?):

    “Even Seth Rogen is plays the same character he normally does – the foul-mouthed, weed-smoking slacker who speaks his mind with very little thought or tact behind what he’s saying.”

    Back to the director though, why did he not do this movie? Do you know?

    • I don’t really think of Paul as being a “cheesy” kind of film because I’m so busy with all of the different sci-fi references and the originality of the overall film. Admittedly, bits at the end got a little bit predictable, but if the film as a whole is enjoyable and original and funny then the job is already done by that point, and everyone can go to the Winchester, have a nice cold pint, and wait for the whole thing to blow over.

      Thank you for pointing out that sentence to me, I try my best to edit everything I put up here but sometimes time is not my friend!

      As for the director question, I’m assuming you mean why they didn’t have Edgar Wright on the project? In this instance, it’s down to a couple of things. Firstly, Pegg, Frost and Wright have always worked very closely with each other on the scripts and comedy, and although they work well together I think this was a project that they were approached by Greg Mottola (who has a lot more sway in the American film industry rather than a British-made production) to do for themselves. Another contributing factor to this, which is also a lot more prominent in this case, is that I believe Edgar Wright was also contracted to be directing Scott Pilgrim Vs The World at the same time, which required a lot of pre-production work to adapt it from the book series.

      Anyway, I know its a bit long winded, but hopefully that answers your question! And as always, thanks for reading.

      • Maybe cheesy is the wrong adjective. The only thing I had a ‘problem’ with, if you could call it a problem, was the fact that the FBI, namely the two rookies, was shooting at civilians (Graeme, Clive, Ruth and Tara) who were unarmed.

        It hasn’t stopped me from watching this a million times. I loved the music and the whole feel of the relationships that formed with the boys (er man-childs) and Paul along their road-trip.

      • I can see how that would be a problem, but in the movies a lot of stuff like that seems to be overlooked. Like how many people DIDN’T die during the Ch’Tauri invasion of New York in The Avengers or who payed all the ensuing damage costs, or how many contractors died during the rebel attack on the second Death Star while it was still being built… (And if you get that reference, congratulations. You win.) Also, you have to bear in mind, this IS America – the country that INVENTED rediculous gun laws! Haha.

        Yes, I love this as well. It’s actually the film that my mum saw and started the film by saying to me “See, THAT’S what I’m worried you’ll be like when you’re 30″ and finished by saying “Have you ever been to Comic-Con then? You should go one year before you’re in a job that means you won’t be able to!” Duality can be a bitch sometimes.


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