Oh wow…where to begin?
“Paul Alien,” to make things simple, is the simple and wholly simplistic look at a billionaire with more questions around his life than easy answers. In fact, it’s probably not giving away too much to say that it revolves around Paul Allen, and his “connections” to a faraway race of aliens. So the end result ends up watching like a strange hybrid of “The Blair Witch Project” (don’t let the comparison stop you—there’s a good but rather minor reason for it. The footage that made “Paul Alien” is purported to come from a pair of currently missing persons), “Art Bell Coast to Coast” (aliens and conspiracies and reptiloids, oh my!), and a promotional reel for an indie music group.
Filmed in a style that suggests a budget more appropriate to buying lunch for the crew than for shooting a movie, “Paul Alien” overcomes some of its handicaps by presenting the material in a fashion that suggests the movie’s proverbial tongue is locked so firmly in its equally proverbial cheek that adhesives were involved.
For instance, take a look at the cover of the box– Paul Allen making out with a tiny little alien on a beach. It’s terribly funny to watch, but that alien is so profoundly shoddy that you’ve really got to stretch suspension of disbelief to envelop THAT thing.
Which is the classic conundrum “Paul Alien” is going to wedge us all in. It’s funny, make no mistake. Nine minutes and nine seconds in give us a fantastic laugh as an alien (the one on the cover) takes a “bath” in “Paul Allen’s” hot tub. You can SEE the wires on the damn thing as it moves. They make no move to hide it—it’s a puppet bouncing around on the end of fishing line.
The background music even manages to overmaster the dialogue every so often—characters talk at normal volumes, but the audience can barely hear them over the music.
And then, as though to make up for this, we get the absolute scream that is a reconciliation cake at twenty six minutes thirty six seconds—it’s basically a pancake with a hardware store’s worth of nuts and bolts and razor blades and assorted metal bits embedded in it. This is a “bury-the-hatchet” gift from Paul Allen’s security goons, which is another excellent example of the conundrum. They show up in shot, armed with staplers–honest to God staplers!—and remote controls that do seemingly nothing at all. They’re using stuff they found around the house for weapons but they are a genuine laugh riot!
Follow on to thirty two minutes and twenty two seconds and watch as the security goon delivers a collection of choice lines, including a rambling discourse about “double felonies”, but then segues into the worst choreographed beating EVER. Instead of punching the person he’s interrogating, he punches a WALL. On CAMERA.
Chapter Five, “Welcome to the Resistance,” leads off a skein of roaringly comical non sequiturs, including the weirdest alien transmission you’ll ever hope to see.
I take back everything I said about “Slaughterhouse of the Rising Sun.” “Paul Alien” is probably THE movie to watch while stoned.
The DVD also includes deleted scenes, outtakes, and a trailer for “Hell Hole High,” which I frankly hope I wind up seeing because that looks like a total laugh riot too.
All in all, “Paul Alien” is a study in contradictions, and an excellent look at how a movie can simultaneously make itself a laugh riot but then blow its entire concept by cheaping out at every opportunity.