Wednesday, 16 February 2011
Review - 'Paul'
The tricky thing about Paul is that it's one of those movies that's nigh-on impossible to assess on its own terms. The obvious questions that immediately present themselves: how do the big screen (and hitherto small screen) double act of Pegg and Frost get on without Edgar Wright behind the camera? How does the writing partnership of Pegg and Frost compare with that of Pegg and Wright? How does it all fare under the direction of the conspicously un-British Greg Mottola? Do we class the resulting movie as American, or British, or what?
But here's the good news... this team playing at less than their best is still head and shoulders above most other filmmakers working in comedy right now. Paul may not be a masterpiece, but it's still a damn good bit of sci-fi flavoured fun.
Obviously it's not eons away from Pegg and Frost's earlier collaborations. One of the great virtues of their work is that they have never been content to roll out the exact same characterisations every time. Tim and Mike, Shaun and Ed, Nicholas Angel and Danny Butterman: these are all very different double acts with distinct character traits. So it is with Graeme and Clive. For once Frost plays the somewhat more dominant role; it's usually him getting pissed off and shouting at Pegg, as opposed to the other way round as it has tended to be in the past. Pegg, meanwhile, plays surely his most timid character to date, as terrified by the local rednecks as he is by the opposite sex, notably in the shape of Kristin Wiig as the fundamentalist Christian they pick up along the way (whose faith takes the humour into somewhat more political hot topic territory than these guys have ventured before).
Perhaps the key difference between this and the other Pegg/Frost projects is that, ultimately, the film doesn't really revolve around them. They're just a couple of innocent bystanders who accidentally find themselves at the eye of the storm, with an alien in their rented RV. Yes, Paul is the title character for a reason. Not only is the story driven by him, but it's also when he comes into play that the film really comes to life.
And in case you might question its relevance to KA-BOOMSKI! I have two things to say. One: it's got multiple car chases, shoot-outs and fight scenes, and at least a couple of big fuck-off explosions. Two: it's my bastard blog, I'll write up whatever I want.
No, it doesn't feel like an entry in the 'Blood & Ice Cream' trilogy, nor does it pack the same belly laugh and emotional sucker punch quota, but even so Paul is very entertaining, reasonably quotable (expect to hear a lot of "Three tits! Awesome!"), and sure to hold up well to repeat viewing.
Just a slice of fried silver, then.