It’s funny how for many years now, my favorite SF movies have tended to be spoofs, satires, like Galaxy Quest or Idiocracy. Well, maybe it’s not so funny, since the reason these movies score so heavily is that most movie science fiction is idiotic, on the seventh-grade level (or lower). It’s so easy to satirize or lampoon, it’s such a broad target. Paul is pretty gentle in its humor. Two Brits are living out their dream, flying to ComicCon in San Diego—total nirvana for fanboys without a real life—and rented an RV to travel the West in search of all the alien landing sites, from Area 51 to Roswell, to … well, we don’t know, because before they finish they picked up a little alien named Paul, who has been here since around 1947, being exploited by the government. He’s seen all the SF movies and TV shows, he’s very hip, foul-mouthed, cynical. And the movie is just a lot of fun. There are few SF media targets it misses. For instance, when they go into the shitkicker bar, listen to the tune the C&W band is playing. If you ever saw the first Star Wars, it might be familiar.
But they missed a great joke, even though I suspect it was done somewhere else first. The chief baddie, who we only see near the end, is played by Sigourney Weaver. (This isn’t a spoiler; she was in the credits, and her voice is easily recognizable.) So she steps out of the Black Helicopter, and our boys get wide-eyed and shout, “Lieutenant Ripley!” Or even “Sigourney Weaver!” And she gets really steamed. “I am not Ripley/Weaver. People say that all the time, and I’m fucking sick of it!” Well, I think it would be funny.