Pop culture with a side of comedy

During spring break, I saw the movie “Paul,” which was a movie I have been really excited to see for a while now. I decided also for this week I would talk about the other works of Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, but first let’s get down to “Paul”. If you don’t know the story, it is about two British nerds on a cross country road trip of places like Area 51 and the city of Roswell where they encounter an actual alien (voiced by Seth Rogen) who is trying to get home. Like Pegg and Frost’s previous films “Shaun of the Dead” and “Hot Fuzz,” “Paul” is a parody, only this time Pegg and crew tackle science fiction. Everything from “Star Wars” to “Back to the Future” gets quoted, so at least everyone will get a least one reference or another throughout the film. All the performances were top notch; Pegg and Frost were great as usual, and Rogen does a really good job of playing himself, basically only in alien form. The only thing I will say about this film that I didn’t like was the bashing of religion. There were some really smart jokes that I was on board with, but then there were just a lot of dumb ones that got me thinking, “Really?” One thing that I did notice from this film was the absent director, Edgar Wright, who usually contributes to movies like this which makes me place this movie in a lower category than “Shaun” and “Fuzz” while still great “Paul” just doesn’t capture what the others achieved in a parody. Director Greg Mottola does what he can, and I enjoy his other work (“Adventureland”), but it feels like he’s just trying to fill in for Wright at times and the payoff doesn’t come. I do recommend “Paul” even though it didn’t offer up as many laughs as I thought, it is still a good comedy.

For the past couple of weeks I’ve been into watching Wright’s work even to the point of watching the British series “Spaced,” where Pegg and Frost first became famous and it is a great show for any movie lover to watch and enjoy. “Shaun of the Dead” was written by Pegg and Wright and is the first part of what they call The Blood and Ice Cream Trilogy, where each movie represents a different flavor. “Shaun” was a parody of romantic comedies and zombie films and featured a deep red color to the film’s outlook; whereas, “Hot Fuzz” was a parody of buddy cop action films and featured a strong blue color. The final part supposedly titled “The World’s End” will feature a green color to its outlook, which I hope will be filmed soon. For me, “Paul” was just a filler for the final installment because I like the actors and all the references they make, but Wright just offers more of the dry British humor that makes the other films even better.