Blu-Ray Review: Great Comedy Ensemble in Disappointing ‘Paul’

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CHICAGO – On paper, “Paul” should easily be one of the best comedies of 2011 to date. The cast is amazing, including two leads who also wrote the scripts for the brilliant “Shaun of the Dead” and “Hot Fuzz.” The director is talented. The premise is clever and entertaining. But movies don’t exist in paper. Overall, the talent of the ensemble keep the piece moving but “Paul” is an undeniable disappointment. Blu-Ray Rating: 3.0/5.0
Blu-Ray Rating: 3.0/5.0

“Simon Pegg and Nick Frost reunite as sci-fi geeks taking a pilgrimage to America’s UFO heartland. There they meet a smart-ass alien, Paul (voiced by Seth Rogen), who takes them on an insane road trip. As they struggle to return Paul home, the little green man might just take the outcasts from misfits to intergalactic heroes. From the director of Superbad, Greg Mottola, and with a stellar supporting cast including Jason Bateman, Kristen Wiig, Bill Hader, Joe Lo Truglio, Jane Lynch, and Sigourney Weaver, Paul is a must-own comedy adventure not to be missed!”

Paul was released on Blu-ray and DVD on August 9th, 2011
Paul was released on Blu-ray and DVD on August 9th, 2011
Photo credit: Universal

With elements of stoner comedies, road movies, and sci-fi archetypes, “Paul” is certainly a unique movie. It’s also remarkably well-intentioned with likable leads, including the kindest alien the movies have seen in some time. It’s easy to like Paul and the three misfits who cross his path, especially when they’re played by comedic actors as talented as Pegg, Frost, and Wiig. And the supporting cast is stellar — Bateman, Hader, Lynch, Weaver — these are the kind of actors who make everything in which they take part just a bit better.

The problems with “Paul” are behind the camera. The character design of Paul never gels despite Rogen’s strong vocal work. The dialogue often feels forced and hammy, including a shocking number of ball, fart, and butt jokes. Too many of the set pieces fall flat. And the movie feels more unfocused than it should in its plotting. Ultimately, I wanted to love “Paul” but it never got its space hooks into me and the movie simply isn’t funny enough to be truly memorable. It’s a mediocre film that should have been great.

The “Paul” experience is certainly helped by a very strong Blu-ray release from Universal that includes a typically-strong transfer and some great special features. I may not have fallen in love with “Paul” but it’s a movie that I’m sure much of its target audience will adore and it’s nice to see them treated well by Universal, one of the best studios working today for Blu-ray owners.

Special Features:
o Hilarious Bloopers
o The Evolution of Paul
o Simon’s Silly Faces
o Who the Hell is Adam Shadowchild?
o Feature Commentary
o Galleries
o DVD Version
o Digital Copy
o BD-Live Enabled
o And More!

“Paul” stars Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Seth Rogen, Kristen Wiig, Jason Bateman, Bill Hader, Joe Lo Truglio, Jane Lynch, and Sigourney Weaver. It was written by Pegg & Frost and directed by Greg Mottola. It was released on Blu-ray and DVD on August 9th, 2011. content director Brian Tallerico

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