Paul

Tagged: Film

Film (2011). Columbia Pictures in association with Relativity Media presents a Working Title/Big Talk production. Directed by Gregg Motola. Written by Frost and Pegg. Cast includes Jason Bateman, Nick Frost, Simon Pegg, Seth Rogen (voice), Sigourney Weaver and Kristen Wiig. 104 minutes. Colour.

Two British sf fans on a US road trip from Comic-Con via the UFO trail pick up a sweary, wisecracking Roswell Alien newly escaped from decades of government custody, and abet his flight as Federal agents close in pursuit. Paul (a computer-generated character voiced by Rogen) turns out to have been a secret source for popular sf culture since the fifties, with Steven Spielberg heard consulting him in a voice cameo, in this eager-to-please but limp British satire packed densely with genre in-jokes, which flatters the US unctuously as the Mecca of sf pilgrimage while retaining a modestly edgy and un-Hollywood frankness about the irreconcilability of sf and Religion. (Wiig's character immediately grasps that the mere existence of alien life refutes her lifelong fundamentalist upbringing and liberates her to cuss and fornicate with abandon.) Though in real life Pegg and Frost are longstanding sf enthusiasts, their film resists the largely affectionate depictions of Fandom seen in Galaxy Quest (1999) and even {FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT TIME TRAVEL} (2009) in favour of easy caricature: Frost's character is an award-winning sf writer, but his book is a spiral-bound A4 production whose salient feature is a green three-breasted alien female on the cover, his sex life is limited to convention flings with Furries, and the pair are fluent in sf media references and UFO culture but seem not to have opened an actual sf book or magazine in their lives. [NL]

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