“Paul” is what happens when you put “E.T.” and “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” together into a blender, then add like, a whole bunch of weed to it, while you’re finishing up a bowl. It’s not just Seth Rogen’s participation as the titular alien Paul that cajoles you towards weed, it’s really the whole movie: Leads Simon Pegg and Nick Frost have a congenial, lived-in chemistry as longtime best friends that feels so real you can’t help but be charmed by it, while the nature of the movie’s humor is predicated on the incongruity of its disparate elements, and that kind of mixed, all-over-the-place style works really well from behind an altered haze. There’s also some occasional violence that up the stakes once in a while, while a veritable army of comedic performers are each given multiple opportunities to shine. In particular, Jason Bateman’s deadpan charm is perfect for his role as a shadowy government agent closing in on our heros and their extraterrestria pal, and Sigourney Weaver pops up once in a while to inject some class to the proceedings. It’s one of those movies you can put on whenever you’re in a bad mood and it’s guaranteed to cheer you up.
Rating: ★★★★ (out of 5)