Finally, o finally, Paul has landed on our shores. Well not quite, as this was an advanced screening and it's nation wide release won't be until this coming Thursday. The trailers left no doubt as to which way it would swing comedy wise but ulimately Paul lacks a certain 'something'. It provides plenty of genuine laughs, but somehow after it had finished I felt strangely unsatisfied.
From the start Paul suffers a severe handicap as it will always have Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz hanging over it's head like a big black cloud. This taints the viewers impression on what to expect from it because as a movie Paul isn't in the same league. Edgar Wright is missing and it somewhat shows. Without him Frost and Pegg just don't have quite the same bite, and things flounder a bit. It is comparable to watching Blackadder without the input of Ben Elton ( isn't it my English readers??!! ). There are plenty of laughs, but it is through crudeness and plenty of swearing, but I found it wore somewhat thin, and it couldn't be sustained enough to be constantly funny.
In many respects Frost and Pegg have made a mistake in making Paul. It would have made more sense to involve Wright and make it into one of their Icecream trilogy movies. They have tried the same recipie of Shaun and Hot Fuzz in parodying zombie and cop movies, but besides some alien movie references, and tounge in cheek jokes, it falls flat. Even having Sigoueney Weaver turn up in an 'alien' ( get it??! ) movie wasn't enough bite to work.
So first up Paul is flawed. But not so flawed as to be totally dis-missable. Like all comdies the viewer will have their own favorite line or moment. I particularly liked the god versus creationism parody and how Paul enlightens a biblebasher, converting her into a foul mouthed want to be fornicator! I was honestly killing myself anf yet my fellow Kiwis were somewhat sub-dued. Typical!! Bloody conservatives, even within comdey they think there are some subjects that are in-alienable and shouldn't have the piss taken out of them...unalienable...good one!!!! I'm personally a very strict atheist so Paul's send up of god was right up my alley!!
The crudeness I found made the male patrons laugh and yet not the females. I suppose not having 'space balls', or 'junk', meant they failed to appreciate the humour of having those bits. Or maybe it was those bloody conservatives again?! Unfortunately the genital jokes came too often and showed the flaw of the humour. It relied too much on little boy humour to generate constant laughs. Sure it was funny when Paul said 'his' is considered small on his planet, but it went on for too long and I couldn't help but feel where was the alien in it all. Paul is rude and crude but once that was established it should have been let go and the humour moved on. In saying that though my favorite scene was Paul pulling an alien brown eye at the resident bible basher!! Noticeably the conservatives didn't find that funny either. What the hell were they doing there anyway??
All the alien jokes are there from anal probing, ( which Pauls denies they do, 'What, I've got nothing better to do than harvest farts?' ) to Star Wars, E.T, X-Files, etc, references, and a classic Encounter of the Third kind scene. It is to be expected as this is an alien movie but for me it was too little and over shadowed by the crudeness and swearing. Fuck, fuck this, fuck that, fuck you, fuck off , fucking wanker, yo fuck nuts, etc, fucking etc. Where was there any time left for alien jokes? It got to the point where whenever Paul spoke you knew what was going to spew from his mouth.
And again we hit a problem. Paul is voiced by Seth Rogen and I can't stand Seth Rogen. In Paul his lack of talent shines through as it seems as if all he is ever capable of is swearing. Was it intentional, or did Rogen tell the producers to get stuffed I'm not doing complicated dialogue as I'm really incapable of such but too much of a dick to actually admit it? I'm afraid I find Rogen unamusing, and even though Paul is a rude crude, dope smoking character, Rogen just pissed me off. His lack of comedic talent is exposed in Paul as there is far more to comedy than the word fuck and toilet humour.
Jason Bateman though is an actor I like even though he'll never be Oscar material. He plays these dry roles well and in his character there is something of a twist ending which in hindsight I should have seen. His two accomplises are a pair of bumbling idiots who at times outshine Paul. They are pillocks to say the least and their comdey efforts are a real relief from Paul's potty mouth. They provide many good laughs which you thank god for, becuase they do break up the monotony of listening to Rogen's swearing. The bible-basher Paul converts also resorts to constant swearing and even her intially funny attempts at profanity wear a bit thin. Too much is too much, and Paul got itself caught in a rut with the constant crude language.
When reading this I may give the impression of having not liked Paul. I did, but unfortunately for everything I did like the flaws were too strong to ignore and left me with an overall feeling of being unsatisfied. The premise is superb and there is so much scope within making an alien comdey in lines with Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. The problem here is too much was concentrated on crudeness and not enough on alieness. Look at Hot Fuzz for an example. There is little swearing and it cannot be denied it is a cop movie even under the giuse of a comedy. Paul doesn't deliver enough alien, and just becomes another potty influenced comedy. It is funny and there were parts I genuinely liked, but it lacks what Edgar Wright could have brought to it and this is Pauls' ulimate failing. It just lacks real bite and serves up a dose of what could have been.
Still worth a watch and full of chuckles but...but ...but...and there is its let down, but. Besides the but Paul could have been so much more. Funny up to a point but just lacking real satisfaction overall. And whatever you do don't watch it in a theatre with a bunch of Kiwis because they are far too conservative and all you will hear is yourself laughing!!!!!!!!!!!