Paul ★★★★

Unrated Version

I saw this during its theatrical run and got a kick out of it. It is, after all, a love letter to the sci-fi geek culture of which I've identified as a member for most of the last quarter century. It's fair to say that Paul engages in a lot of fan service, but then, Paul's entire premise is fan service. If you can get past the premise, the bombardment of shout-outs and homages shouldn't be much of a turn-off.

The question then becomes, what else is there to Paul *other* than fan service jokes? Admittedly, not much in the way of story (it's too straightforward to offer any surprises), but the camaraderie between the key characters is endearing. I love the scenes where they're just driving or hanging out at a campsite chatting. I'm a sucker for a good road trip movie anyway, and for me, that's where Paul shines. I want to be there with these screw-offs. Not because they're going to do something spectacular, but because I simply enjoy their company.

As during the theatrical screening I caught three years ago, I found Kristen Wiig stole the show. It's wild to think she had this and Bridesmaids back-to-back in the span of just a few months. I confess, though, a small part of me is disappointed that at no point during Ruth's learning to swear does anyone use the phrase "colorful metaphors". It seems obligatory, given all the rest of the quotations and allusions, and not going there feels just a bit annoying.

I don't know offhand if the finale showdown is actually longer in the unrated version that I watched just now than it was in the theatrical cut, or whether the perception just exists because I saw the movie once already, with an audience, versus it being a re-watch tonight alone, but I did feel that it dragged somewhat. I don't remember feeling that way the first time I saw it. Conversely, I felt like the farmhouse altercation went a lot faster tonight, so there's that.

(Incidentally, Paul makes for a fun double-feature partner following Howard the Duck.)

Paul Re-Ranked on My Flickchart (#555/1620)

Paul > National Lampoon's Loaded Weapon 1 --> #555
Paul < The World Is Not Enough --> #555
Paul > Zardoz --> #555
Paul > From Here to Eternity --> #506
Paul < John Carter --> #506
Paul > X-Men: The Last Stand --> #480
Paul > The Green Hornet --> #468
Paul > The Smurfs --> #461
Paul > Waiting... --> #458
Paul > Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island --> #457
Paul < John Carter --> #457

Paul was re-ranked on my Flickchart to #457/1620