Tuesday February 15th 2011
Let’s be honest, it doesn’t really matter what I think of Paul. It’s got Pegg and Frost on the poster, the words ‘Seth Rogen’ on its cast list and four stars from Empire Magazine; if you’re within the target audience, chances are you’ve already bought your ticket.
Unfortunately, what puts itself forward as a very mainstream proposition is actually a surprisingly niche affair, complete with about five semi-obscure sci-fi references for every consolatory broad marijuana LOL. And that’s not to say that the broad marijuana LOLs aren’t funny, but they’re not exactly breaking new ground.
With its dream team cast and crew (you couldn’t pay me not to see a movie from the director of Adventureland) and uncompromising R rating, making a certifiably bad movie out of Paul would take some doing. And indeed, it does have all the flashes of brilliance you’d expect given the talent involved. A top-qual cast are all on good form and Paul himself is both likeable and, crucially, believable – quite an achievement given what a smug cunt he seemed in the trailer.
Unfortunately, the innate in-ness of the whole thing has a tendency to tip over into self-indulgence, but at other times it’s easy to get swept up in what is essentially a pretty amiable road trip comedy. (One concern: it does subscribe to the recent Hollywood trend for unpleasantly vitriolic atheism, but I’ll leave it to Sight & Sound to dissect that particular hot potato.)
Paul: not as good as it should be, not as bad as it could be.
P.S. Yes, we’ve had a bit of spring clean.