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Who’s up for a close encounter? 

Year: 2011 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: Unknown 
Certificate: BBFC 15 Cert – Not suitable for under 15s 
Subtitles: This film is not expected to be subtitled, though this cannot be guaranteed. 
Directed by Greg Mottola 
Starring: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Seth Rogen, Sigourney Weaver  
An image from Paul

Graeme (Pegg) and Clive (Frost), two self-professed British geeks, are having the time of their lives visiting the sights, comic conventions, and, most importantly, the UFO hotspots in America. However, this road trip turns into a mad race after they encounter Paul (Rogen), an alien on the run after 60 years of incarceration. Looking to escape back home, Paul enlists the help of the pair to return him to his mothership, along the way kidnapping a young woman and dodging the attention of government agents. With all eyes on Graeme and Clive, can they rise from Earthling misfits to intergalactic superheroes?

Unlike Pegg and Frost’s earlier features, Paul is a very American film. Whilst gentle mockery and the references to other similar genre films still play a part here, Paul is mostly carried in the humour department by crass jokes and sight gags. That’s not to say it isn’t funny; far from it, Paul again proves the ample comic talents of Pegg and Frost. Admittedly, they play characters similar to those they always play, but they’ve become so good at it now that it’s not a bad thing. Seth Rogen as the voice of Paul is particularly hilarious, providing the perfect comic foil/partner to the duo.

Greg Mottola is a director no-one remembers despite directing one of 2007’s breakout films, Superbad. His directing is energetic, yet restrained when necessary, and he makes the most of the witty talent on offer. The only thing that the film seems to struggle with is to appeal to several audiences simultaneously. The humour feels like it doesn’t cater to everyone at once, but after a while, the film picks up and this patchiness fades away.

Overall, if you’re a fan of comedies, sci-fi films or Pegg and Frost in general, Paul has something to offer. From a strong cast to brilliant humour, you’ll have to ‘probe’ deep for problems.

Tom Freeman

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Screenings of this film:

2010/2011 Summer Term (35mm)
2010/2011 Summer Term (35mm)