Maybe you’ve seen previews for the new film, “Paul,” the comedy about two nerds and an alien on a roadtrip across America.
Despite the R rating, this film has a huge draw to teenagers. That’s why it might be good to know that it was by far one of the most irresposible and offensive films I’ve seen in the last decade.
I went ahead and wrote up my two cents and a discussion guide for parents and youth workers for our new MOVIE REVIEWS & QUICK Q’s page. I’ll be adding this review within the next 24 hours. I wanted to give you, my blog readers, the first peak.
Paul (In Theatres)
Rated R for language including sexual references, and some drug use.
Starring: Seth Rogan, Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Kristen Wig, Jason Bateman, Sigourney Weaver…
I haven’t been this offended since Ricky Gervais’ film, The Invention of Lying.
I was sooooooooooooooooo disappointed with this film. Let me just start by reminding many of you that I am not only a film geek, I’m kinda a nerd at times. If I could afford one of those really cool storm trooper costumes, I’d wear it regularly around the house just for fun. My son and I regularly quote movies together, often quoting Star Wars and other science fiction classics. Like I said—“nerd.”
So that being said, I had high expectations from this film from the previews. It looked hilarious, it looked like it was going to spoof numerous films, and the icing on the cake—it was co-written by Simon Pegg, who I really enjoy.
My hesitations, however, were the fact that the film was R for language and some sexual references (an understatement), Seth Rogan was in it (he seems to be attracted to raunchy material), and it was directed by the Superbad’s Greg Mottala.
Okay… putting all those hesitations in black and white does seem to bellow, “Jonathan, how did you not know that this film would dip into the bowels of inappropriateness, selling out for a cheap laugh?!!”
Two words: Simon Pegg.
I really have enjoyed some of Simon’s earlier works (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, etc.) and I thought this would be the same creatively funny caliber. Unfortunately, Paul focused its efforts more on the offensive.
The film started well with a really creative premise. Two nerds from England (Pegg and Frost) travel the U.S. on a pilgrimage that starting at ComicCon and journeyed dot to dot through America’s UFO heartland. Their road trip is interrupted by a foul mouthed, smoking, drinking, atheist alien named Paul (Rogan).
Here’s where the film got tricky. Paul was cool. Despite his many vices, he was a fun, likable character running from corrupt government leaders that wanted to dissect him. Their adventures were hilarious, filled with classic movie quotes and homages, and cameos from guys like Steven Spielberg himself. It was difficult not to love these moments.
But then, as the story develops, the audience is taken on a journey where everything bad is made to look good, and everything good is portrayed as ridiculous.
The first hint of this was when they meet a quirky Christian named Ruth Buggs (Wiig). Ruth has pictures of Jesus on the wall and is portrayed as sheltered, uptight and naïve. When she discovers that Paul and the nerds don’t believe in God, she tries to argue with them. “The world is 4,000 years old and can only be the product of intelligent design!” Paul simply responds, “That’s horsesh**! Paul uses his powers to show her the supposed truth about the world and Ruth realizes that God was just a hoax. Feeling ripped off, Ruth starts cursing profusely, smoking weed and asks one of the guys if he would “fornicate” with her.
For the rest of the movie, Christianity is made to look ridiculous, evolution is portrayed as common sense fact, and vices like smoking, drinking, cursing, even stealing are celebrated, with no consequences.
The whole theatre loved it! When Ruth tried pot for the first time, the audience celebrated. When she cursed, the audience roared in laughter. When Ruth’s dad tried to get her back, proclaiming, “I’m on a mission from God!” He was shot by an agent who said, “Tell him you failed!” The crowd cheered.
Honestly, it was a heartbreaking experience.
Some day people are going to find out the truth.
Until then, we need to do what Ephesians 4:1 says and live a life worthy of your calling. Then, as we mature and grow in our faith…
14 Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. 15 Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. (Ephesians 4:14, 15)