Director Greg Mottola is on what gamblers like to call a "hot streak". His previous two films, Superbad and Advenuterland, were both charming and hysterical in their own right. Needless to say, when I heard he'd be directing the E.T. gone vulgar sci-fi comedy Paul, I was shocked. Then, leading up to its theatrical release and through its first week, Mottola's latest picture had over a 70% approval rating on the must-use website "Rotten Tomatoes" . At that point I had to see what was so great about Paul.
Graeme (Pegg) and Clive (Frost) are best friends making their first trip to the states. The European natives are visiting Comicon in San Diego, and then taking their rented RV to famous UFO sighting hot spots. While casually traveling the United States, a completely unexpected sequence of events begin to unfold. The duo cross paths with a blunt-smoking, raunchy alien named Paul (voice of Seth Rogen). The alien has escaped from government captivity and he's desperate to return home to his native planet. With the help of Graeme, Clive, and a few other surprising people, Paul is in for the ride of his life.
With an uncontroversial R rating, Paul is definitely no E.T.. There is no family-film qualities in this movie whatsoever. In fact, keep your children far away from this picture. Paul is an immature, "fart joke" comedy with the occasional laugh out loud scene. However, there's nothing particularly great about the movie, and I have absolutely no idea how other critics have almost unanimously praised Paul.
Simon Pegg and Nick Frost have collaborated plenty and if you enjoy the pair, you may find some charm in the film. But on its surface, Paul has a scarce number of bright spots. The plot is razor thin, the jokes are overdone, and the acting is barely mediocre. Greg Mottola has officially ended his "hot streak". I've come to expect more out of this director, and you should too. Don't believe what most critics are saying, Paul is not a must-see.