Home Book news "Paul", a film about the power of imagination

"Paul", a film about the power of imagination

by Louisa Klein

Are you a geek? Intelligent, smart, eccentric? Do you feel uncomfortable anywhere you go? You have the sensation you really don’t fit anywhere and there’s no one you can really talk to? Well, if you’ve answered “yes” to all the above questions, then “Paul”, the last work of the brilliant Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, is the right film for you!
Paul is the story of Graeme Willy (Simon Pegg) and Clive Gollings (Nick Frost), two ordinary British nerds who have made their first pilgrimage over to Comic Con in San Diego after which they have also planned an adventurous road trip, taking in the most infamous alien contact sites in the US.
What the pair definitely hasn’t planned, is the sudden appearance of archetypal alien Paul (voiced by Seth Rogen), fleeing from the American government, which has recently decided that he has fulfilled any possible uses since his crash in Roswell, so that it’s high time for America to gain all the benefits an accurate and well thought-out brain dissection would offer.
This eccentric “alien encouter of the third type” triggers a frantic flight across the country, during which our two not so heroic-looking geeks will in fact risk their neck to get Paul to a secure site, from which he would be picked up by his intergalactic friends.
With Paul on board the pair find themselves pursued by government agents and the disgruntled bible-bashing father of Ruth (Kristen Wiig), a one eyed-evolution hater that Graeme and Clive ‘kidnap’ after she discovers their alien stowaway.
The pairing of Pegg and Frost is one that is probably familiar to most from their work with Edgar Wright in Spaced, Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz and not much has changed in this latest effort. If you like the way the actors play off each other, then you’ll find it easy to warm to their characters here.
It’s a very funny movie but, beware!, it’s not only an amusing story, it’s an amusing story with a message. The main characters are all outcasts, including Ruth, who clearly never left her home neither ever had a boyfriend because of her handicap.
The word “alien” comes from the Latin “alienus”, which means “foreign”. Paul is, in fact, quintessentially a stranger to our brave geeks, who risk their lives to save someone who has, at least officially, no connection whatsoever with them, since he comes from another planet.
Graeme and Clive are, respectively, an artist and a science fiction writer: that means that they have imagination. You need imagination to be compassionate, since being compassionate means to figure yourself in someone else’s shoes. You definitely need to be very creative to imagine how it feels to be an alien on a, well, foreign planet all alone and lonely, unimaginably far away from home.
Fortunately for Paul, they have that kind of imagination and they go through hell to help him, since they know exactly how it feels to be different from everyone else and alienated (yes, that’s the word!).
“Paul” is an amusing film about three nerds who are ready to make a difference. It deserves every penny of the ticket price.
Louisa Klein
“Paul”, 2011
Greg Mottola
Nick Frost, Simon Pegg
Simon Pegg, Nick Frost and Seth Rogen

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