Skip to main content

About the Alien That Created Fox Mulder

Movie Review: Paul (2011)
Summary: Two British comic-book geeks traveling across the U.S. encounter an alien outside Area 51.
Spoilers: none 

Paul is the unassumingly titled movie about an extraterrestrial being with the same name that crash-lands on earth in 1947 and is found by a girl (Mia Stallard/Blythe Danner) who saves his life and cares for him before he is found and taken by the U.S. government.

After a short and suggestively dramatic opening, the mood changes from serious to silly when we meet our two geeks, “Graeme Willy” (Simon Pegg) and “Clive Gollings” (Nick Frost). Both are the second and third-row-down men of the hour next to our main man, the alien who calls himself “Paul” (Seth Rogen, voice).

At a sci-fi conference outside of Area 51, Graeme and Clive are vacationing from the UK when they run into Paul trying to flee from the government. Paul needs a ride. The trio escape in an RV and become outright fugitives, this after having to look over their shoulders for two homophobic bar-frequenters they met before the whole ordeal began. They are pursued by “Agent Zoil” (Jason Bateman) and “O’Reilly” (John Lo Truglio) with his partner, “Haggard” (Bill Hader).

At an RV rest stop, they run across “Ruth Buggs” (Kristen Wiig), a super-religious girl and her even more religious father, “Moses Buggs” (John Carroll Lynch). Moses is a very stable individual who carries a shotgun in hand with his bible. No surprise that neither he, nor she believe in aliens, not when she wears a t-shirt that has a picture of Jesus shooting Charles Darwin for the crime of heresy. 

And this, friends, is the stuff of good parody. Everything – from E.T. to bible-thumping fundamentalists, and from faceless villains in classic movies to the unsurpassable geekdom of sci-fi nerds and crazy UFOlogists – is made into a thoroughly humorous adventure. 

It’s a perverted remake of ET, it is. But by golly, it goes beyond parody, with carefulness and keen direction that its subject matter hardly deserves.

Seeing our two main men re-enact the classic “Gorn the Lizard Man vs. Captain Kirk” fight scene from the “Arena” episode of the original Star Trek who then scurry off after being spotted by people who have lives is plainly hysterical—more so than Bateman’s or Hader’s very complimentary styles of humor, and more so than seeing Sigourney Weaver doing the fieldwork her agents can’t get done in wielding a handgun that is almost as big as the small extraterrestrial himself.

This swear-happy and irreverently themed sci-fi roaster takes any – and damn near everything that has to do with space aliens – and makes awesome fun of it. Stories of alien abduction followed by claims of anal probing deserve such a beating. And a short little alien who prefers to wear pants and has perfect social graces and great pop culture knowledge…who would think to prop that up? Paul even claims credit for creating the character “Fox Mulder” from the X-files.

Another laughable element: These geeks are so wrapped up in their sci-fi that when they meet a factual instead of fictional alien, they have no words and few questions. This says everything about their lack of interest in the real world (and is yet another slam against those who choose to live in fantasy instead of reality)—even when what they want is put before them, they are afraid to come to grips. Hilarious, I say. Subtlety hilarious.

The director of Superbad brings us Paul, a surprisingly funny story of alien abduction in reverse, with great CGI. Seth Rogen wasn’t the best choice for the voice of Paul, but that doesn’t take from nearly two hours of sci-fi dorkdom being put on trial in this kangaroo court of sexually charged jokes and shenanigans. Just keep the fundamentalist Christians at home. They won’t want to see it.


Grade: A- (4 stars)
Rated: R (for language, violence, drug use, and thematic sexuality)
Director: Greg Mottola
Starring: Seth Rogen “Paul” (voice), Jane Lynch “Pat Stevenson,” Simon Pegg “Graeme Willy,” Sigourney Weaver “Voice,” Jason Bateman “Special Agent Lorenzo Zoil,” Kristen Wiig “Ruth Buggs,” Bill Hader “Haggard,” Nick Frost “Clive Gollings,” Blythe Danner “Tara Walton,” Jeffrey Tambor “Adam Shadowchild,” Jesse Plemons “Jake,” David Koechner “Gus,” John Carroll Lynch “Moses Buggs”
Genre: Comedy / Sci-Fi


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

When Jesus Turns Down the Glory: 10 Worst Ever Christian Songs

It’s a sad testimony when even the creator of a thing realizes that the product isn’t what it was intended to be. Well, actually it’s a good thing. It just doesn’t happen often enough. The Christian music industry is, shall we say, not up to par with where its admirers (and even creators and ardent well-wishers) would hope it would be. And when even the average believer realizes that their music is not market-cornering stuff, all should know that there is a problem.

Now not all Christian music sucks (you might even find a few rock songs from artists like Petra on Joe Holman’s ipod that he still sometimes listens to and enjoys), but what makes the stuff that does suck suck is that what sucks sucks for a number of different reasons. We begin the countdown going from best of the worst to absolute worst...

The Top 5 Most Powerful Beings in Sci-fi (Part I of II)

It’s a subject that is rarely tackled in any form outside of random questions on a message board, but here we will devote a sensible examination of it. Who – what – is the most powerful being anywhere in every realm of sci-fi or fantasy ever dreamt up by a finite human being? I’ve been contemplating this subject since I was 8 years old. At 39, it hasn’t left my mind. That means several things; (1) I’m a fucking geek. (2) I’ve invested enough of my life pondering this for it to qualify as an obsession.

As with all “Most” anything lists, we are faced with several problems, one of them being limited source material. A couple of these only made one or two brief appearances somewhere and that is all we have to go by. But sometimes, those situations let our imaginations go into overdrive and give us even more creative fun. The mystery tends to add to the experience of contemplation.

The Top 5 Most Powerful Beings in Sci-fi (Part II of II)

#1) The Douwds – From Star Trek The Next Generation

Claim to fame: This Douwd went from pacifist to mass murderer of 50 billion in a single moment of anger. He appears to hold the record for most murders in all of sci-fi.
Abilities: Just about unlimited.
Nature: True immortals.

Our winner, debatably edging out number #2, is a mysterious race of beings called the Douwds. We only get to meet one of their kind in a single episode (#51, season 3 - see the condensed version here) called “The Survivors.” It was one of the very best of any season. What little we know of this illusive race “of disguises and false surroundings” only adds to our fascination with them.

When the Enterprise gets an urgent distress call from a federation colony on Delta Rana IV about an attacking alien warship, they head over as fast as they can, but they are days away. By the time they arrive, it is too late. All are dead and the planet has been literally leveled…with the sole exception of one house and the small pa…