Wednesday, 16 February 2011

The Watcher - Paul

Doesn't every man love Valentine’s Day. One of the most uncomfortable and unnecessarily stressful days of the year. But this year, Cupid’s twisted guilt didn't have opportunity to hamper another pleasant evening. Tonight was a trip to the cinema - and not to see some pappy chick flick - but to enjoy the latest outing by Gloucestershire’s prime valentine - Mr Simon Pegg.

Paul is the latest outing by home grown legendary duo Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. Paul is Frost and Pegg taking their instantly recognisable and loveable British twist on comedy, over to American soil.

It follows the story of two English geeks, on a road trip through the United States. After attending the San Diego Comic Con, the road trip continues all around New Mexico, with the pair eager for snaps at all manner of locales along the ‘Extraterrestrial Highway’.

On their way, they discover Paul. An alien (voiced by Seth Rogen) who has just escaped his captivity of the past 60 years in Area 51. He pleads with Graeme and Clive (Pegg and Frost) to help him return to the location of the mothership.

Pegg and Frost again deliver their ability to bring giggles throughout the whole cinema just by appearing on screen. A sea of smiles grew over the faces of the punters by just witnessing their screen debut for the evening. You can tell it’s their script too. The dialogue is bursting at the seams with classic sci-fi references and one liners. It’s an inspired script with many different references spanning the now many generations of our beloved geek culture.

It’s the pedigree of the American actors which really helps to give Paul some clout. In a situation which could of so easily backfired, it’s truly exciting to bear witness to a new form of chemistry being instilled. The brash, dry humour of our loveable natives, folds together brilliantly with a real class line-up of US talent. Under the watchful, tried and tested leadership of director Greg Motolla (Superbad, Adventureland), Seth Rogen leads as the adorable, quick witted and potty mouthed Extra Terrestrial.

Jane Lynch and Kristen Wiig couldn’t have been better cast for the roles they have to fill. Wiig in particular nailing her kooky, zealous and damn right strange performance. A fantastic trio of suits (Jason Bateman, Bill Hader, Joe Lo Truglio) provide endless entertainment as the Government's bumbling men in black. Personally I’ve had my eye on Truglio for some time and it’s clear his warped, twisted and bizarre take on comedy is straight from Camp Rogen. He's brilliant and bounces off Bill Hader extremely well throughout the film.

But for all its qualities and legitimate laugh out loud moments, something felt missing. Perhaps it was just missing that extra ‘spark’ of an Edgar Wright directed movie. Perhaps it was Pegg and Frost finding their feet with a new director. But this could be its only criticism.

On the whole it is a light hearted, well written comedy, with some of the greatest comedians from each side of the Atlantic. Any fan of Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, or the plethora aforementioned US talent will leave the cinema entertained. It’s a great step forward to providing more and more opportunities to see that ‘Spaced’ chemistry in action. And even if it didn’t quite hit the bar of a standard raised by previous flicks, it’s still a brilliantly enjoyable watch.

Phil Davies is eagerly awaiting the next installment of the Cornetto trilogy

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