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Overall Rating
3.75

Awesome: 0%
Worth A Look75%
Just Average: 25%
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1 review, 2 user ratings


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Paper Heart
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by Mel Valentin

"Delightful rom-com/mockumentary."
4 stars

The tagline for "Paper Heart," an indie “hybrid documentary” (or romantic comedy/mockumentary), cleverly promises, “A story about love that's taking on a life of its own.” Directed by Nicholas Jasenovec and co-written with actress-comedian-musician Charlyne Yi, "Paper Heart" is as goofy, awkward, and charming as its two shy, self-conscious leads, Charlene Yi (playing herself, more or less) and Michael Cera (playing himself, once again). A clever, consistently amusing exploration of romantic love, "Paper Heart" may be the “perfect” date movie for non-cynical moviegoers interested in levity with their insight into romantic relationships, young, old, and all ages in between. Not surprisingly, "Paper Heart" scored with Sundance Festival crowds this past January and was quickly picked up for distribution by Overture Films.

Charlyne Yi and her longtime friend and filmmaker Nicholas Jasenovec (Jake M. Johnson, Nicholas Jasenovec’s stand-in) decide to shoot a documentary on romantic love, a subject in which Charlyne claims ignorance. She claims she’s never fallen in love and expresses her fear that she’ll never fall in love. After checking in with Seth Rogen, Martin Starr, Paul Rust, and Demetri Martin, Charlyne and Nicholas (and crew) venture to East and (mostly) South from Los Angeles, stopping in Texas for tips from University of Texas professors on the science of love, before hopscotching between different states and cities. Charlyne quizzes several couples on the secret of their romantic success or, in the case of a divorced man in Tennessee, the absence of romantic love. Charlyne’s interview subjects are surprisingly frank in discussing their romantic lives with essentially a stranger, but all the talk about romantic love doesn’t get Charlyne any closer to understanding.

Back in Los Angeles for a brief hiatus from documentary filmmaking, Charlyne meets Michael Cera at a party. Sparks don’t exactly fly. While Nicholas captures Michael expressing romantic interest in Charlyne, she responds with indifference. Eventually, however, Charlyne begins to reciprocate Michael’s feelings for her, but the constant presence of a camera crew following their every move, something Nicholas insists on repeatedly, threatens to derail any long-term prospects for Charlyne and Michael as a romantic couple. The long separations caused by multiple road trips also put a damper on Charlyne and Michael’s relationship. Charlyne continues to struggle with the idea of romantic love and whether she’s actually in love with Michael.

Little of the Charlyne-Michael relationship, of course, is “real.” Minus the interview segments, Charlyne Yi and the “real” Nicholas Jasenovec (shown briefly as a member of the crew) scripted "Paper Heart." Presumably, Michael Cera was allowed to improvise his lines. His stop-start, tangent-heavy speech patterns, real or developed over the last several years from his work on "Arrested Development," "Juno," "Superbad," "Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist," "Year One," and, presumably, the still-in-production "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World," are everywhere in effect. Yi matches Cera’s reticence and awkwardness with her own, but can’t match his emotional openness or honesty (again, on a fictional level).

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=18172&reviewer=402
originally posted: 08/07/09 08:00:00
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2009 Sundance Film Festival For more in the 2009 Sundance Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2009 Seattle International Film Festival For more in the 2009 Seattle International Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2009 Los Angeles Film Festival For more in the 2009 Los Angeles Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

7/21/11 Annie G Mock-umentary that doesn’t really say much of anything. Save your time. 3 stars
11/21/09 porfle Real parts--good. Fake parts--not so good. Very uneven. 3 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  07-Aug-2009 (PG-13)
  DVD: 01-Dec-2009

UK
  N/A

Australia
  07-Aug-2009


Directed by
  Nicholas Jasenovec

Written by
  Nicholas Jasenovec
  Charlyne Yi

Cast
  Charlyne Yi
  Michael Cera
  Jake Johnson



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