Two British comic-book geeks traveling across the U.S. encounter an alien outside Area 51.
If you in any way know anything about pop culture from the last twenty years, this movie is worth watching.
If you’re a geek like me – okay, even a toned-down version of me – then you need to own this movie, not just watch it. And you’re not going to earn any geek points until you do. And you’ll lose them all if you don’t understand why the rest of us are laughing when they enter the podunk Nevada bar for some food.
I promise this will make more sense once you watch that scene. Or it won’t. In which case, I have to wonder why you’d watched that far to begin with.
Simon Pegg & Nick Frost (Shaun of the Dead) have written a complete out-and-out winner, here. I lost count of the number of science-fiction and pop culture references, which would make it cool enough as it was, but then it was also smart, current, and just freaking hilarious.
The tone for the whole movie is set at the very beginning, where we see Graeme (Pegg) and Clive (Frost) attending San Diego Comic-con. I’ll admit, I geeked out a bit at that, having stood on the same street corner in that same place as they did not even a month ago at this year’s Comic-con. Our intrepid heroes meet Adam Shadowchild (emphasis to indicate importance to these guys), played by the always sensational Jeffrey Tambor, who is a writer with tons of influence on Clive’s own work.
The boys leave San Diego on their quest across the American Southwest to visit some of the most important locations in sci-fi and geek history, including the Vasquez Rocks, The Black Mailbox, and Area 51 (in a drive-by). That’s when things get a bit hairy, as they barely avoid a collision with a speeding government vehicle that abruptly crashes. Upon investigating, they discovery the “little green man” Paul, voiced by funnyman Seth Rogen.
It all goes downhill from there as Graeme and Clive decide to help Paul escape the planet with a little help from his friends, running into one problem after another and being chased the whole way by Agent Zoil (Jason Bateman) and his flunkies. Along the way, they manage to kidnap Christian fundamentalist Ruth Buggs (Kristen Wiig) and attract the ire of Zoil’s boss, The Big Guy (Sigourney Weaver).
With cameos galore, too many quotable lines and a great cast of character actors, including David Koechner, Jane Lynch, Joe Lo Truglio, Bill Hader, John Carroll Lynch and even Blythe Danner of all people, Paul is a very funny, surprisingly raunchy (ever heard a newly-dezealotized Christian cuss?), fantastically cheer-worthy movie. I’m not sure what they could’ve done to have me like this movie more. If you’re a geek, buy it. If you’re not, rent it. RedBox it if you have to, but it’s awesome.