Directed by Greg Mottola. US/UK/Spain/France. 2011.

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Paul is an alien, comedy, road-movie that makes fun of nerds, geeks, Christians, Ufologists, conspiracy mongers and government agents on the back of Star Wars, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Alien, E.T. and even Easy Rider and Duel.

Two English, comic-book fans, Graeme Willy (Simon Pegg) and Clive Gollings (Nick Frost), are making a road-trip across the USA to visit Area 51 and other UFO landmarks, when they literally bump into an alien.

The alien ‘Paul’, crashed his flying saucer on a farm in 1947 and after being a ‘guest’ of the US government all these years, has escaped before they carry out a lethal examination of his brain.

As Graeme and Clive take Paul to a rendevous with a rescue ship from his home planet, they are chased by angry red-necks, a Christian fundamentalist and the obligatory government agents.

Paul (voiced by Seth Rogen) is excellent as the foul-mouthed alien who literally blows their minds with his knowledge, and like ET he can heal animals and people. Indeed, in one scene it shows that Paul advised Steven Spielberg on how he should portray the alien in ET.

There are lots of nerdy references to films and ufolore as portrayed in films, including Sigourney Weaver as a nasty control freak, but is still funny even if you don’t get these references.

Be prepared for plenty of swearing in the film, and some surprising twists and turns in the plot. And, it looks brilliant on blu-ray disc. One quibble is that the two main characters should have been ufologists rather than science fiction comic book fans, as the latter tend to look on ufology with disdain. Though that would have lost many of the geeky sf references and favoured even more geeky UFO references.

Paul is a very funny look at the portrayal of aliens in the movies.

Nigel Watson
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