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Paul / Rated R for language, sex, drug use, violence and fainting

This film could easily have been called Steven. It is an homage to Director Steven Spielberg and his presence, both in reference and during an on-screen phone call, is always on screen. It is an earthy remake of ET (1982) with Paul being the ET cute alien with a longshoreman‘s attitude. He performs all the cute miracles that the writers of ET and those who penned The Bishop’s Wife (1947), where Cary Grant plays an angel, build into their alien themed movies. He also shows off his life giving skills ala Jeff Bridges as Starman (1984) with a Coen Bros. twist.

Two British scifi alien fans visit the USA and pay a visit to the San Diego ComicCon. They are believably portrayed by Simon Pegg (who also plays Commander Montgomery Scott as in “beam me up, Scotty” in the current Star Trek films) and Nick Frost. They take off from San Diego on a cross country trip to visit famous UFO sites like Area 51 in Nevada where they meet up with Paul, a smart-alecky alien who uses bad words, smokes dope and can become invisible.

Paul is being pursued by his Area 51 captors. He just wants to go home. He is not from around “here,” here being the Milky Way. They are involved in a long chase with government agents hot on their trail as they attempt to return Paul to Moorcroft Wyoming, site of his original landing in 1947, so he can be picked up by the mothership. Seems he has called ahead for a ride.

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Along the way they pick up odd characters including a love interest for SP. The long crazy cross country chase reminded me a lot of Raising Arizona being peppered with weird characters and ironic events. It also references dozens if not thousands of other alien films. All are done with good humor and a sense that the film-makers really like the Steven Spielberg’s ET as well as Close Encounters of the 3rd Kind (1977).

Well cast cameos, including one big one for the final scene make this a film not to be missed, especially for Spielberg fans from Earth and beyond. The story carries over into the end credits with a few big laughs saved for the finale.

A neat music score by David Arnold (Independence Day and several of the James Bond films) brings everything together in a nice neat entertainment package.

Rated 3.5 out of 4.0 reasons to watch out when the Mothership is landing.

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