Paul is the new film from Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, the team (with Edgar Wright) behind Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. (It should be noted, however, that Wright was not involved in Paul.) Those two films and their tv sitcom Spaced were all great so I was expecting big things, and the film pretty much lived up to my expectations!
The film follows two British sci-fi geeks (Pegg and Frost) who travel to America for Comic-Con and a road trip to some famous UFO sites. All is going quite well until they bump into a real-life alien, voiced by Seth Rogen. The alien, Paul, has been helping the US government since his spaceship crashed in 1947 but has now reached the end of his usefulness and is on the run to return to his own planet before the government catches up with him. He persuades Pegg and Frost’s characters, Clive and Graeme, to help him.
Government agent Zoil (Jason Bateman), accompanied by two hapless rookies, is on their tail and things get more complicated when they accidently kidnap Ruth, a young creationist, played by Kristen Wiig from Saturday Night Live.
Seeing Paul makes Ruth question her whole world view and loosen up considerably. She takes the opportunity to swear as much as possible, which is funny at first but gets a little old.
This film is broad enough to appeal to and amuse most people, but sci-fi fans will definitely get more from it as much of the humour is based on science fiction reference jokes, especially to Close Encounters of the Third Kind. My favourite sci-fi joke was a scene when our heroes entered a bar in Wyoming – the band were playing the music from the cantina scene in Star Wars!