Reviewed by: Daniel Thompson
How can we know there’s a God? Answer
What if the cosmos is all that there is? Answer
If God made everything, who made God? Answer
What does the Bible say about intelligent life on other planets? Answer
Are we alone in the universe? Answer
Does Scripture refer to life in space? Answer
questions and answers about the origin of life
Why is there a disconnect between Hollywood and the rest of America? Answer
What is being done to change the values of Hollywood? Answer
Every time you buy a movie ticket or rent a video you are casting a vote telling Hollywood “That’s what I want.” Why does Hollywood continue to promote immoral programming? Are YOU part of the problem? Answer
|Featuring:||Simon Pegg—Graeme Willy
Jane Lynch—Pat Stevens
Seth Rogen—Paul (voice)
Jason Bateman—Agent Zoil
Sigourney Weaver—The Big Guy
Kristen Wiig—Ruth Buggs
Liza Chasin—executive producer
“Who’s up for a close encounter?”
Actors and best friends Nick Frost and Simon Pegg write and star in movies that lampoon people and movies of all genres. In their first two films, “Shaun of the Dead” and “Hot Fuzz,” zombie and action movies received the satirical treatment, and the result was two very funny pieces of entertainment. In their third film together, Frost and Pegg have decided to take on science fiction in “Paul,” the story of two friends who discover an alien. While the trademark British humor is still intact, “Paul” does not measure up to the previous work of Frost and Pegg, and goes out of its way to ridicule Christians.
Graeme and Clive are best friends from England who are finally taking the vacation of their dreams. They have traveled to America to attend Comic-Con, a convention known worldwide as a Mecca for science fiction fans. After Comic-Con, they decide to rent an RV and see all the sites where UFO’s have been spotted. Things go awry, however, when Graeme and Clive meet Paul.
Paul is a foul mouthed, joint smoking extraterrestrial. Paul asks the two friends for help, as he is trying to escape the planet. After initially being scared witless, Graeme and Clive befriend Paul and begin a road trip, with federal agents in hot pursuit.
The plot to “Paul” is equivalent to a humorous version of “E.T.”, with more car chases. Plenty of humor is wrung from this plot, including references to just about every classic alien movie ever made, including “Star Wars”, “Close Encounters of the Third Kind”, and “Alien”. Fans of science fiction films will enjoy the sly references to even more obscure movies. Pegg and Frost, the stars and writers of “Paul”, have clearly done their homework and pay homage to some cinematic classics.
“Paul” does suffer from some problems that were not apparent in the earlier works of Pegg and Frost. Most of these problems stem from director Greg Mottola. Mottola, who directed “Superbad”, does not really know how to handle this material, and “Paul” comes off uneven.
The other problem with “Paul” is its objectionable content. Just as in their earlier films, Paul does contain a great deal of foul language that includes just about every profanity imaginable. There is plenty of drug use, which the film seems to applaud, and the movie also contains its fair share of blood and violence. While there are no nude or sex scenes, there are several with crude sexual dialogue that are played for laughs.
One specific aspect of the objectionable content had me puzzled. “Paul” goes out of its way to ridicule the Christian faith. They do this in several ways, but mainly through the character of Ruth Buggs (played by Kristen Wiig). Graeme and Clive meet Ruth at a Christian RV park, and she joins them on their journey. The character of Ruth is portrayed as stupid, ignorant, and gullible for believing in intelligent design and Creation. The existence of Paul helps the two prove to Ruth how irrational her faith is, and, from that point forward, she disregards her belief system. While the makers of “Paul” were clearly having a go at all religions that believe in a creator, they chose to single out Christianity.
It’s unreasonable to think that a Hollywood production would portray Christians correctly, and it also comes as no surprise that the portrayal of Christians in this film is negative. What is surprising is that the underlying themes of “Paul” deal with faith, fate, love, and sacrifice. It’s as if the makers of “Paul” went out of their way to criticize what they think Christianity is all about, while at the same time they were emphasizing what Christianity is actually all about. As Christians, that’s where we come in. We can show the world, through the way we live our lives, that portrayals like this could not be further from the truth.
It is a difficult task to blend heart and satire, but Simon Pegg and Nick Frost do it successfully. While not as funny as their earlier works, there is still quite a bit of humor to be found in “Paul”. Unfortunately, there’s also quite a bit of objectionable content which means most Christians would be better suited finding their humor some place else.
Violence: Heavy / Profanity: Extreme / Sex/Nudity: Extreme
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.