Paul (2011): Get your own alien
Paul came out on DVD last week and we snapped up a copy. Although this adventure wasn’t directed by their usual partner, Edgar Wright, so far anything with Shaun of the Dead’s Simon Pegg and Nick Frost—from the television series Spaced about the twenty-something creative class, to Hot Fuzz, a dark comedy about a top cop in a small town with big secrets—is a keeper worthy of multiple viewings. Paul is a good-natured sci-fi road trip flick in which the duo play unapologetic geeks and Brit best buds (neither of which is probably a big stretch) on an American pilgrimage from Comic Con to Area 51 and beyond in an RV. Along the way they meet Paul (voiced by Seth Rogen), a stoner alien sporting shorts, flip flops and an aggressively laid back attitude. Paul is escaping a top secret military base from which he’s been shaping American pop culture for decades and his ride-along results in Federal agents being added to an assortment of rednecks already in pursuit of the hapless pair.
Paul is built on comic book and Sci-Fi fan references and brought to life by CGI and a really stellar comedy cast including Jason Bateman, Kristen Wiig, Jeffrey Tambor, Jane Lynch, David Koechner and Bill Hader. The hours of DVD extras give you the impression that they all genuinely enjoyed the project and each other. In this case, skip the bloopers and head right for the featurettes which showed everything from the sheer childlike elation of the cast and crew at successfully blowing a house to smithereens for the movie to a revealing detail of the number of people and objects it took (including Seth Rogen in a motion capture suit, a young son of a stuntman, a little person, a detailed scale model and actor/comedian Joe Lo Truglio on his knees) to make one smart ass alien. We also enjoyed an early test piece of footage created to sell the movie concept showing a bewigged Frost and Pegg (who was also bespectacled), as well as a behind-the-scenes tour of the three surprising lo-tech RVs used in the making of the film.