Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Script Review: Paul- "Baby, where we’re going, you won’t need teeth."

For those who doubt here is the title page above
Hello I am the movie encyclopedia and if no one else will see it, I will.

Well Comic-Con has come and gone and we have seen plenty of amazing things from it. The Avengers cast revealed, panels from all sorts of movies and television series, video game premieres and of course movie trailers and posters strewn all about. One of my most anticipated titles from Comic-Con of course had to be Greg Mottola's new film written and starring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost (of Shaun of the Dead fame). The idea of seeing these two on screen together again was amazing to me. And as more cast members were revealed like Jason Bateman, Jane Lynch and Seth Rogan I was a bit excited.

Well by some sort of strange luck, one of my sources in Hollywood, the same one who got me the Uwe Boll interview, sent me a bunch of screenplays for films coming out. "Cowboys and Aliens," "Jonny Quest," "Piranha 3-D (Which after reading is surprisingly good)" and last but not least "Paul." She says she'll send me more as she gets them seeing as how I'm a critic now but I was pretty stoked with this selection, especially Paul. On a side note though I was pissed off about Jonny Quest since I wrote a shooting script for my own Jonny Quest movie but I guess that's not happening now.

Anywhoo, I figured I have a lot of readers who would love to have me review screenplays and I figure this would be a good way to get new readers interested in the site. If you don't want spoilers than don't read on but I think you might be interested to see how this film is.
The film follows Graham and Clive (Pegg and Frost), two comic geeks to the core who are attending the San Diego Comic Con. After getting an autograph from Michael Biehn (of Alien fame), they set up shop since one of the reasons they are there is to promote a comic they did called "Jelva-Alien Queen of the Varvak." It only sells three copies (mostly due to a "Heroes" panel featuring Zachary Quinto) but they are not discouraged since after Comic Con they plan on traveling to Area 51 to see if there are any aliens.

They pack up in their RV and head to New Mexico. Before reaching Area 51 they stop at a diner to eat. Things seem to go well until two rednecks come in. They book it out of there ASAP, since the rednecks do nothing but stare at them the whole time while talking about hunting, and drive towards Area 51. When they see headlights behind them they speed up and when the car tries to pass they accidentally ram into the car, flipping it.

They get out of the car and check to see if anyone is alive. After only seeing one guy and him appearing in bad shape, they decide to dial 911. Right before they reach an operator a voice tells them to stop. They turn around and see a 3 ft tall alien in cut off shorts and sandals smoking a cigarette. Clive faints as the alien explains that he needs their help and that they need to drive North and as fast as they can. After loading up Clive into the RV, Graham and the alien drive North as the alien commands.
The alien, who reveals his name is Paul, crash landed on Earth sixty years ago and has been in a government facility for years. He's also been a huge part of the media, helping Steven Spielberg create E.T. authentically as well as Close Encounters, "Take me to your dealer," and apparently Roger from American Dad, among many other things. He escapes because he has outlived his usefulness on Earth and one deranged governmental official wants to harvest his brain. Being forewarned about this he makes a break for it and runs into our heroes.

While all this is happening, Secret Service agents, led by an Agent Zoil (Jason Bateman) and his lackeys Haggard and O'Reilly (Bill Hader and Joe Lo Truglio) are after Paul, on direct orders to bring him in. Zoil is smart and assertive while Haggard is over eager and O"Reilly is a bit dim. They find out that Graham and Clive have taken Paul and thus take chase on this cross country adventure.

The guys (well guys and alien) stop at an RV trailer park for the night and meet Ruth and Moses Behe (now renamed Buggs) played by Kristin Wiig and John Carroll Lynch. They are very righteous, God fearing individuals with Ruth being an overly sheltered, blind in one eye, girl who has never left the county. Ruth takes a liking to Graham and Clive but Moses doesn't approve and the two leave the group alone. Later that night though, she sees a third pair of legs.

The next day, as they are about to leave, Ruth happens to come by. She starts talking with the guys and once a discussion about evolution vs religion starts getting heated, Paul comes out. She freaks out and faints at the sight of this and the group decides to take her along since leaving her would risk exposing them. Paul grabs Clive's passport before they peel off but Moses sees Paul, sees her daughter with the "demon creature" and, after a talk with Agent Zoil, takes chase himself.

The group travel around, talking about the universe, life, religion, evolution, science, Paul's past and Paul's reason for going North: the day he crash landed, he killed a little girl's dog and caused the girl to become completely obsessed with him and aliens in general. He blames himself for "ruining her life" and the area is also conveniently located near the place where he will be picked up by his brethren. They conveniently bump into Zoil and his lackeys, as well as the rednecks and Moses a few times before finally reaching the farmhouse where Tara, the girl, lives.

They talk to Tara and Paul apologizes. Shortly after though Zoil and his men lackeys arrive. Fighting and chasing ensues until the crew jump into the RV and peel off towards an oncoming tornado about to touch down. O'Reilly gets himself blown up when his gun goes off next to a gas heater while Haggard, Zoil and Moses take chase. Seeing the tornado though Zoil and Moses hang back but the Haggard goes right into the tornado, which Paul's team just barely misses.
They arrive at the tower where Paul is to be picked up. A mysterious man who has been directing Zoil and his lackeys arrives with two soldiers and is about to take Paul when Zoil, revealed to be an old friend of Paul's, shoots the soldiers and rescues Paul. Zoil, however, gets shot by the man and while tending to his wounds, Ruth gets shot accidentally by Moses, who had just arrived. Paul helps Zoil and revives Ruth, which earns Moses's trust. But the man is not happy and points his gun at the group...right before he is squished by the arriving spaceship.

Paul says his goodbyes and takes Tara with him promising a new life since he ruined he last one. Ruth and Graham end up together, Zoil becomes their personal security, and Graham and Clive end up becoming successful writers with their latest creation entitled "Paul."


The script is masterful. It has a wonderful pace, great humor, amazing running jokes and you can hear the actors delivering their lines like they were made for them. It's a 119 page script but with the pacing you can breeze through it in twenty minutes. I can not wait for the film to come out next year and if the script is any indication, this film will be near perfect.



  1. VERY happy about Michael Biehns cameo, and even MORE happy about a new Pegg/Frost flick. It sounds hilarious. These guys can create magic together. I'm absolutely giddy to see it. Thanks for sharing Travis!

  2. As a paid script reader, I'd say that if I were you I'd be very careful about what you are doing here with regards to writing about scripts to movies that are not out yet, especially offering to give them away.

    It's not necessarily illegal but, especially since you are not in the movie business, if a studio found out that you were writing bad things or giving their big movies away it could hurt your reputation with the studios if you ever build one, limiting opportunities to grow your blog.

    It's just a suggestion.

  3. I'm with Mike on this one. This is a pretty not-good idea.

  4. I'm keeping meself untainted.

  5. Yeah I see what you mean. I got rid of the giving away thing since I think that's a bit wrong in retrospect. I wouldn't want to step on any executives toes so I got rid of that option.

    As for the reviewing the scripts themselves I'm not trying to make this a constant thing. I mean I only got four scripts and honestly I think that if she offered me more I'd probably say no. In the back of my mind when she sent them to me I was a bit hesitant but I guess my nerdgasm I was having got in the way of my better judgement.

    And the only reason I even made the option available when I first made this post was because my circle of friends (about 4 people) wanted a copy since they were bigger Pegg/Frost nerds than I am. Once I realized I had gained 3 followers from this I had an "Uh-Oh" moment and by then you and Nick had already posted your comment.

    I think I'll review the ones I have now (I'm seeing an advanced showing of Piranha anyway later this week so my Piranha one will probably be just a review) and that'll be it.

    I doubt I'll ever get close to the movie studios or ever get a real paid job in film but if I did this would look bad.

  6. Glad to see you reviewing scripts TJ. It's definitely a nice way of getting some really original content that very few other sites/blogs have unless the run-of--the-mill movie reviews for example.

  7. I'm still not sure if I'd review the scripts ahead of time. At the most, I'd wait until the movie comes out (or advanced/pre-screenings) and do comparisons with the final product. That way you aren't stepping on anybody's toes prior to the film's release.

  8. @ Castor: Thanks. Your post on Terrance Malick's new film kind of inspired it.

    @Nick: I know what you mean man and that's why I'm waiting to post the Piranha 3D one. I'm seeing an advanced screening (I guess the studio execs want to make sure they like the final product) later this afternoon (as well as The Other Guys tonight DOUBLE FEATURE BABY!!). My other guys review will be normal but my Piranha 3D one will incorporate the script to film comparison.

  9. Ohhh, I'm gonna read this in more detail later but I've been anticipating this movie for a long time! I wrote a post about it quite a while ago myself but I had no idea about Michael Biehn's involvement at the time. Woo hooo! I love that guy, I wish he had been in Avatar (as he was almost cast). Pegg/Frost combo is awesome but with this cast and this story, this is gonna be phenomenal!