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Saturday 29 December 2012

Burl reviews Paul! (2011)

Ha, oh, ha ha, hi! Yes, it’s me, Burl, here with a new review for you! I thought I’d take a look at a Hollywood picture called Paul, which is about a couple of nerd guys who meet an alien! Standard issue crumbcake, right? Ha ha, sure, but with one great twist: these two guys are driving around in an RV!
Yes, the fellows who made this picture must have known about one of ol’ Burl’s most shocking weaknesses: I simply can’t resist an RV picture! From The Long, Long Trailer through Race With the Devil and Alien Predators right to several episodes of Shazam, I’ve just about seen ‘em all! In fact, the only one I haven’t had a look at is RV, starring Robin Williams! That one just seems like a low-rent retread of Vacation to me; but still, the lure of the RV is strong, and I may yet seek it out!
Paul exhibits another of its strengths right at the start: some decent music! Yes, after a brief prologue set in 1947, the movie proper starts at Comic-Con, a thing I’ve never been to, but which is apparently crawling with nerds! However, laid over this is a cool song, “Another Girl, Another Planet,” by The Only Ones! Ha ha, great tune! The nerds are played by the guys from Shaun of the Dead, and they pile into their RV for a tour of the American Southwest, and in particular all its fine UFO-related tourist sites!
Of course they meet an alien, who becomes their buddy, and whom they help along in a Starman-like manner to the place his UFO buddies are going to pick him up! Of course that’s Devil’s Tower in Wyoming, a location I myself have actually visited, despite not being a UFO nerd! They’re chased by a bunch of federal agent types of varying levels of competence, and also by some rednecks and the Bible-thumping father of a pretty but naïve one-eye they pick up along the way! Ha ha, no, rest assured, it’s not the same one-eye Grandpa speaks of in Grumpy Old Men!
The movie starts out pretty well, and it has funny bits all the way along, and the alien is not the grating presence he could have been, and there’s a minor twist towards the end which I appreciated; but like so many of these new-century comedy pictures, it runs out of steam halfway through! It becomes mostly just a series of references to other alien movies, mostly E.T. and Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Mac and Me! Strangely, I didn’t notice any specific references to Starman, unless they meant the reference to be the entire plot of the movie! Ha ha!
It’s a good-natured little confection, and reminded me a little bit of Super 8 in its energetic back-hearkening to the high Spielbergian days of the 1980s! But compared to Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, it’s a little underwhelming! However, for the funny bits, the fine trick effects used to bring the alien to life, the strong soundtrack and of course the RV, I’m going to give Paul two pairs of baggy shorts!

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