Thursday, 9 February 2012

Paul (2011)

Paul is a 2011 science fiction comedy film directed by Greg Mottola, written by Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. It stars Pegg, Frost, and the voice of Seth Rogen as the title character. The film contains numerous references to other science fiction films, especially those of Steven Spielberg, as well as to general science fiction fandom.

The certificate is rated 15 in the UK, Japan and Iraq, because of mild violence and there is also some use of mild language and mild sex references also occur during some parts in the film. It was originally intended as a children's film but became more violent than was originally intended.

The Plot

Graeme Willy (Simon Pegg) and Clive Gollings (Nick Frost) are two English comic book enthusiasts and best friends who have traveled to the United States to attend the annual San Diego Comic-Con International and to take a road trip in their RV to visit sites of major extraterrestrial importance When stopping for something to eat they meet two strangers and when Graeme laughs with them they start tormenting him. They leave quickly and dent the strangers car. At night, along the highway, they notice lights following them they think it si the bullies back at the club and speed up but it isn,t them however the car crashes. They investigate, where they meet and discover an alien named Paul (Seth Rogen), who is in desperate need of help. Although shocked by the appearance of Paul, Graeme agrees to give Paul a ride, but Clive is displeased about the idea. Later, FBI Agent Lorenzo Zoil (Jason Bateman) arrives at the site of the crashed car and informs his mysterious female superior, called the "Big Guy", over the radio that he is closing in on Paul, and she recommends using local law enforcement as back-up. Zoil recruits two inept rookie agents, Haggard (Bill Hader) and O'Reilly (Joe Lo Truglio), to aid in his mission, without informing them about the nature of their target.

Graeme, Clive and Paul pull into an RV park run by Ruth Buggs (Kristen Wiig), a Christian fundamentalist, and her over-bearing father, Moses (John Carroll Lynch). The trio bond around their camp grill and Paul reveals that since he was captured by the government, he had been advising them in all manner of scientific and sociological achievements. Yet Paul had outlived his usefulness as a receptacle of knowledge, thus his captors intended to surgically remove Paul's brain and harvest his stem cells, in an attempt to harness his physical abilities (Paul had previously demonstrated both invisibility and healing powers). With the help from a friend inside Area 51, Paul sent an SOS to his home planet, and was escaping to rendezvous with them. The next morning, Paul intentionally reveals himself to Ruth during a theological discussion, and the trio are forced to kidnap her and make a hasty escape. Moses steps outside and sees Paul and, believing him to be a demon, grabs his shotgun and chases after them in his truck. Paul shatters Ruth's faith by sharing his knowledge of the universe via telepathic link; at first horrified, Ruth suddenly becomes eager to sin, which her father had raised her to fear doing. She initially does not trust Paul, but he heals her left eye, which she lost her vision in at the age of four.

Eventually, Paul reveals his intention to return to Tara Walton (Blythe Danner), the girl whose dog he crashed his ship on in 1947 and who subsequently saved his life, who is now an old woman. After spending her life being ridiculed for what she said she saw, Tara is grateful to see that Paul exists. She turns her gas cooker on to make tea, but is interrupted by Haggard and O'Reilly on one side of the house, and Zoil on the other. As the motley crew escapes and drives off with Paul, O'Reilly shoots at them, and the gas ignites, destroying Tara's house. A winded Zoil attempts to follow, but Haggard takes off first, running Moses off the road and catching up to the RV. However, due to an error in judgement, Haggard accidentally drives off a cliff and is killed, leaving Zoil as the last remaining agent in pursuit. He reassures the Big Guy that he will have Paul within an hour, but she declares herself tired of waiting, and informs Zoil that she has ordered a military response.

When Paul, Graeme, Clive, Ruth and Tara arrive at the rendezvous, they set off a signal and wait. Eventually, eerie orange lights show up over the surrounding trees, and everyone believes that it is Paul's race. However, it is an army helicopter, with the Big Guy (Sigourney Weaver) on board. As she and three troops move to shoot Paul, Zoil arrives, and it is revealed that he was Paul's inside contact who helped him to escape. Zoil disarms the men, but is shot in the shoulder by the Big Guy. Tara punches out the Big Guy, but Moses appears with his shotgun and mortally wounds Graeme while aiming at Paul. Paul heals him and collapses, briefly appearing to be dead before he quickly recovers; Moses proclaims this to be a miracle from God. The Big Guy regains consciousness, but is immediately crushed by the arriving alien ship. Paul begins to depart and informs Tara that she is coming with him to live a better life. He bids farewell to his friends, hoping to meet them again one day. Two years later, Graeme, Clive, Ruth and even O'Reilly are shown again at the 2011 Comic-Con convention, where Graeme and Clive are promoting Paul, their new hit novel.


As of September 2011, the film has received generally positive reviews; Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a score of 72% based on 184 reviews, with an average rating of 6.3 out of 10; it fared less well among 36 of that website's "top critics", scoring a 58% (21 fresh reviews and 15 rotten).

Empire rated the film "excellent" (four stars out of five) stating, "Broader and more accessible than either Shaun of the Dead or Hot Fuzz, Paul is pure Pegg and Frost – clever, cheeky and very, very funny. You'll never look at E.T. in the same way again." SFX also gives the film four stars out of five, saying "the film veers dangerously close to alienating (no pun intended) all but its geek core audience, though the more obvious concessions to a mainstream crowd are never enough to derail the film's laugh-a-minute ride"; SFX also calls it a "triumph of visual effects, convincing characterisation and bad taste humour."

Peter Bradshaw gave the film two stars out of five and called it a "goofy, amiable piece of silliness" exhibiting "self-indulgence" and possessing a "distinct shortage of real gags". On the same scale Nigel Andrews gave the film only one star, calling it a "faltering extraterrestrial knockabout". The Independent grades the film two stars out of five, saying "Pegg is likeable as usual, Frost more doltish than usual, and Kristen Wiig an appealing convert from Bible thumper to ladette", and notes that "from time to time, clever ideas rear their heads – like the idea that 'Paul' has been the brains behind all science fiction and UFO initiatives for the last 30 years, including Close Encounters and The X-Files – but they soon return to the film's default setting of laddish japes and a conviction that the word 'cocksucker' will always get a laugh." Common Sense Media gave the film three stars and an iffy rating for ages 16–17. Saying "Cheerfully dumb sci-fi comedy has sex, drug humor." IGN also gave the film three stars, stating "Simon Pegg and Nick Frost send up everything from Star Wars to E.T. in this sci-fi comedy."

Upon its U.S. release, Roger Ebert gave Paul a mixed review of two and a half stars out of four, saying it's a "movie that teeters on the edge of being really pretty good and loses its way. I'm not sure quite what goes wrong, but you can see that it might have gone right." According to Manohla Dargis, "As genial, foolish and demographically engineered as it sounds (hailing all fan boys and girls), Paul is at once a buddy flick and a classic American road movie of self- (and other) discovery, interspersed with buckets of expletives and some startling (especially for a big-studio release) pokes at Christian fundamentalism....The movie has its attractions, notably Mr. Pegg and Mr. Frost (and of course Mr. Bateman), whose ductile, (noncomputer) animated and open faces were made for comedy....Paul proves the weak link. One problem is that Mr. Rogen, however comically inclined, has become overexposed, and there’s just something too familiar and predictable about this voice coming out of that body. Yet while Paul seems great conceptually, he’s not particularly interesting or surprising, despite a funny recap of what he’s been doing on his time on Earth. With his vibe and vocabulary, shorts and weed, juvenilia and sentimentality, Paul turns out to be not much different from a lot of guys who have wreaked comedy havoc on American screens lately, even if this one only wants to beam up, not knock up."

The Cast

Mia Stallard as Young Tara
 Simon Pegg as Graeme Willy
 Nick Frost as Clive Gollings
 Jeremy Owen as Sword Vendor
 Jeffrey Tambor as Adam Shadowchild
 David House as Security Guard
 Jennifer Granger as Adam Shadowchild Fan
 Nelson Ascencio as Jorge
 Jane Lynch as Pat Stevens
 David Koechner as Gus
 Jesse Plemons as Jake
 Seth Rogen as Paul (voice)
 Jason Bateman as Agent Zoil
 Sigourney Weaver as The Big Guy
 Bill Hader as Haggard
 Joe Lo Truglio as O'Reilly

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