Monday, August 15, 2011
Weekly Wish List UPDATE Paul
Now this is what we would definitely call a "niche" film. We'll talk about quality later, but right up front the subject matter of this film will absolutely not appeal to a WIDE audience. It is THAT nerdy. So that's one thing it has going against it...or for it...depending on where your tastes lie. I'm sure you know where I fall when it comes to that aspect of the film. This film follows two nerds(sci fi writers) who on the way home from Comic Con decide to rent an RV and travel across America visiting some famous UFO sites.(starting to get the idea?) Along the way they encounter Paul, an alien who has escaped captivity and is on the run from some government agents. Countless geek references occur and plenty of laughs are to be had...if you get it.
Nick Frost and Simon Pegg write and star as the two nerds in the film. You look at something like Fanboys, and this film belongs to that genre(if you could call it that) but succeeds on such a higher level thanks to the brilliance of its main stars. That's not to say that the film is not without its faults. Fanboys seemed like forced bit after bit of nerdiness to me, but here you can tell just how much these two really love the subject matter they're referencing. The Indy reference and Paul talking to Spielberg on the phone could be such a contrived scene, but here it comes off as charming and clever. Nick's constant peppering of Klingon comes at just the right moments and Paul chimes in perfectly each time chastising him for being THAT much of a nerd, hell Pegg even wears a Kirkman shirt to bed every night.
Yet still I feel the film doesn't fully live up to what it could be. I said in the beginning that this was a niche film. Not that I think one should ever make films for the masses, but look at something like Shaun of the Dead. It might not be for everyone, but I guarantee you the people who say they don't like it most likely haven't seen it yet, or have no soul. Here, the film could've done for aliens what Shaun did, but yet it sits as a nerd film for nerds made by nerds. Nothing wrong with that, and I still enjoyed it and plan on revisiting it, but it will never escape that nerd culture. Do not fool yourself...if you are not a nerd and watch this film and find it funny....you've got some deep nerd inside of ya.
Seth Rogen is Paul...if you hate Seth Rogen(like many do apparently) then you will hate this film and it will not change your mind about him. That is all I will say about that.
Their is a sincerity to everything these two do. You feel the love spread through every scene. You get the feeling they really enjoyed seeing the black mailbox, and Frost being genuinely upset that he didn't get to share meeting Paul with his best friend, it's all played very straight and makes the film work. Mottola really allows these two to do what they do best which is be one of the best onscreen duos of the modern age.
The supporting cast really does some good work here. I loved the government agents. They were actually one of my favorite parts of this film. Specifically Jason Bateman. Holy shit I would watch a whole film of his character chasing after aliens. His deadpan delivery and subtle badassness was completely unexpected. It takes some damn strong skills to deliver "hooha" and make it awesome. Bill Hader actually has an amusing character arc, who just ends up completely insane by the end. Jeffrey Tambor is Adam Shadowchild? who the hell is Adam Shadowchild?...well you'll have to watch to find out.
Ultimately it's a fun film, but on first viewing...it's nothing too special. It has some clever moments and great work from its stars, and as much as I disagree with Funkowitz....he's not completely off base here. Beware though....for nerds only. Who knows maybe this will age and become a classic...there is plenty to like here.
One last thought - last thing on Rogen....I thought I would hate his alien from what I saw from the trailer...but he did a good job..it's Rogen doing an alien....but I like Rogen.