Movie Mom

Movie Mom


Paul

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language including sexual references, and some drug use
Profanity:Extremely strong, vulgar, and raunchy language
Nudity/Sex:Very explicit sexual references and situations, nudity
Alcohol/Drugs:Drinking, smoking, drug use
Violence/Scariness:Guns and mostly comic sc-fi violence, characters injured and killed
Diversity Issues:None
Movie Release Date:March 18, 2011
DVD Release Date:August 9, 2011

Director Greg Mottola (“Superbad,” “Adventureland”) is an expert at mixing raunch and sweetness. Simon Pegg and Nick Frost (“Shaun of the Dead,” “Hot Fuzz”) are experts at making funny but knowing and affectionate tributes to movie genres. Together, they’ve made an uneven but amiable road trip sci-fi comedy about an alien with sly references to everything from “Star Trek” and “2001” to “Alien” and “Battlestar Gallactica.” And, of course, “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” and “ET.”

It begins, as all pop-culture-obsessed stories should, at Comic-Con, the annual San Diego fanboy extravaganza. Two English fans, Graeme (Pegg) and Clive (Frost) begin their long-awaited first visit to America, starting at Comic-Con and continuing on a road trip to Area 51, Roswell, and other legendary UFO locations. They happily put an “Alien On Board” bumper sticker on their camper. But that doesn’t mean they are prepared to actually have a close encounter of their own.

And certainly Paul (stoner-ish voice of Seth Rogan) is not at all what they had in mind. He immediately reassures them that the business about the probes is just an urban legend. He’s been on Earth for quite a while, so he has had a chance not just to absorb a lot of American culture but to influence it as well (Steven Spielberg has a clever cameo). He thought he was a guest, but has learned he was a prisoner. Now a fed (Jason Bateman) and a pair of cops (“SNL’s” Bill Hader and Joe Lo Truglio) are after him and Graeme and Clive are in for an adventure beyond their wildest dreams, which were already pretty wild (as shown in their comic book).

YouTube Preview Image

They meet a variety of people along the way, including Jane Lynch as a sympathetic waitress and Kristin Wiig as Ruth, a fundamentalist Christian with a bad eye who wears a creationist t-shirt showing Jesus shooting Darwin. Paul and the Brits cause her to have massive cognitive dissonance, questioning everything she has ever believed. Wiig manages to make Ruth’s child-like delight in catching up on a lifetime of unused swearwords is sweetly innocent. Mottola keeps things going briskly with some surprising cameos as more people join the chase, including Ruth’s gun-totin’, Bible-thumpin’ father, some angry biker types, a woman whose life was transformed by a close encounter with Paul when he first landed, and the head of the shady government agency trying to capture Paul before he makes it to the mother ship. The crudity, drug humor, and attempted satire about fundamentalism fall flat most of the time, but the affectionate understanding of fanboys and their obsessions, the unpretentious sweetness of the friendship and budding romance, and a couple of plot surprises make this something to phone home about.



  • http://camsavwin.wordpress.com Camron

    I’m taking my 10 year old tonight, after reading your review. I’m not too worried about the fan boy references, or the sexual innuendos, as my son either won’t notice or won’t care at this point. The language is always an issue, but that’s a problem on prime time TV, so we’ll try to deal with it the same way. I hope Simon et. al. can keep me laughing, and it sounds like the message works.

  • A reader

    What happened to the “questions for family discussion?”

    • Nell Minow

      Sorry about that! It’s there now.

Previous Posts

Claire LaZebnik's Thoughts on Thanks
I can't think of a better way to start Thanksgiving weekend than taking a few minutes to read my friend Claire LaZebnik's wise and inspiring essay on gratitude. This most American of holidays is often accompanied by stress -- from hosting and being hosted, from traveling, from family. Claire write

posted 9:39:41am Nov. 26, 2014 | read full post »

Horrible Bosses 2
Maybe it's just the proximity to the horrible "Dumb and Dumber To," but the cheerily offensive "Horrible Bosses 2" made me laugh. Full warning -- it begins with an elaborate sight gag as our hapless he

posted 5:58:28pm Nov. 25, 2014 | read full post »

Penguins of Madagascar
The most adorable characters from the first three animated "Madagascar" movies were the penguins, the seldom right but never in doubt leader Skipper (Tom McGrath), the often right but never listened to Kowalski (Chris Miller), the literally explosive Rico (Conrad Vernon), and the ever-loyal Private

posted 5:17:32pm Nov. 25, 2014 | read full post »

Coming Soon: Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, the Miniseries
Susanna Clarke's novel Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell is one of those delicious stories that transports the reader to another world, so enthralling that it is difficult to leave. The setting is historical, England in 1806, as the Napoleonic Wars are being fought on land and at sea. Most peopl

posted 3:58:53pm Nov. 25, 2014 | read full post »

Trailer: Jurassic World with Christ Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard
[iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/RFinNxS5KN4?rel=0" frameborder="0"]

posted 3:53:04pm Nov. 25, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.