Movies: Paul

Paul and Graeme (Simon Pegg) are going
on the ride of their lives.
Photo: Double Negative/Universal Studios

You don’t have to be a ComicCon geek — into sci-fi and all that the alien state of Nevada has to offer — to laugh out loud at Paul, the new film written by Simon Pegg and Nick Frost (Shaun of the Dead) that celebrates America’s love affair with aliens.

Clive Gollings (Frost) and his mate Graeme Willy (Pegg) come to ComicCon in San Diego and decide to take a road trip through the parts of America where creatures from outer space have been spotted. They first drive in the camper to Nevada, to Area 51 where, after a stop at the Little A’Le’Inn — yes, it really exists and you can read about taking a road trip along the Extraterrestrial Highway in this field report by Megan Edwards but, unlike in the movie,it is not owned by Jane Lynch — they run into Paul, an actual alien on the run from destruction at the hands of the U.S. military.

Paul looks like an older version of ET, shrunken and wizened, but very benign, still spry and, voiced by Seth Rogan, very funny. Clive and Graeme agree to help him get back to his mother ship and, thus, the adventure begins.

Along the way they encounter Agent Zoil (Jason Bateman), two rogue cops (Bill Hader and Joe LoTruglio) and Ruth Buggs (Kristen Wiig), a very religious young women, and he Bible-thumpin’ dad, Moses (John Carrolll Lynch). There’s also the top government person (Sigourney Weaver) and Tara Walton (Blythe Danner) who had an encounter with Paul 60 years ago.

The film moves quickly and, as directed by Greg Mottola, it is well-paced.

Sound silly? Well, it is. The other reviews of this film have ranged from terrific to terrible but, I’d say, if you need a laugh, need to see some nonsense that — while being nonsensical, is still smart — Paul is the movie for you. Because, really, where is it written that to be good and to be worth seeing, a film has be foreign or serious or deep or difficult or any or all of the above? If movies can be simply fun and funny, this is one that fills the bill.