Any movie that has a redneck bar version of the Cantina Song from Star Wars and the recurring image of a green-skinned, three-tittied space babe has pretty much got the sci-fi geek demographic all sewn up. I suppose, especially since I could pick out all the Star Wars references throughout Greg Mottola's Paul (and there are quite a few), I am one of that particular demographic. Well, since I am one of those they were aiming for, I suppose my opinion matters just that much more because of it. Perhaps not, but here it is anyway.
Paul, written by the comic team of Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, who were great in Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, is a sincere and well-done, pop-culture piece of post-millennial op-art moviemaking. I cannot claim it is anything more than that, but it sure is fun in what it is. Aimed, as I said, at those who grew up pretending they were either Han Solo or Princess Leia (I suppose some wanted to be Luke as well, but c'mon) and those who can beat all there friends at Trivial Pursuit (or at least the arts & entertainment category) and those who don't have to be told what Devil's Tower or Roswell or an wok are, Paul hits its mark more often than not, but never transcends into the kind of beast that will make it the instant cult classic it so obviously desires to be. A lot of fun trying though.
Perhaps without Shaun and Fuzz director Edgar Wright at the helm, Pegg and Frost get a bit lost in the mire of moviemaking and end up faltering and/or zoning out at certain times - or worse yet, having lesser comic timing than usual. But still, their delivery of lines work in their own unique ways. Seth Rogen does a surprisingly good job as the titular alien (behind the CGI that is) and Kristen Wiig is (of course) hilarious as always in her role as the creationist love interest of Pegg's intrepid traveler, but the film works, as much as it does, because of the team of Pegg and Frost - whether they seem lost at times or not. I still wonder though (no offense to Mr. Mottola - I do like him and his work) what kind of movie we would have had if Pegg and Frost were working with Wright on this one. [03/22/11]