Jamie Kennedy's favorite movie review site
Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About 

Overall Rating

Awesome: 0%
Worth A Look: 0%
Just Average: 14.29%
Pretty Crappy85.71%
Sucks: 0%

1 review, 1 rating

Latest Reviews

Buddy System, The by Jack Sommersby

Amiko by Jay Seaver

Man Who Killed Hitler and Then The Bigfoot, The by Jay Seaver

Laplace's Witch by Jay Seaver

Eighth Grade by Peter Sobczynski

Unfriended: Dark Web by Peter Sobczynski

Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again! by Peter Sobczynski

Boiled Angels: The Trial of Mike Diana by Jay Seaver

Buy Bust by Jay Seaver

Isle of Dogs by Rob Gonsalves

subscribe to this feed

Paper Man
[AllPosters.com] Buy posters from this movie
by brianorndorf

"Writer's block needs a Superman"
2 stars

“Paper Man” has the appearance of a deeply felt, earnest film concerning unfinished emotional business. It literalizes the burden of guilt in strange seriocomic ways, but the film as a whole is a woeful misfire of inexplicable outbursts and overpowering performances. “Paper Man” certainly reaches out for a hug and demands a few tears, but the execution of the film is irritating, making this sensitive picture dishearteningly hopeless and, at least during a few key moments of the feature, seemingly endless.

Richard (Jeff Daniels) is a novelist urged to start work on a new book by his estranged wife, Claire (Lisa Kudrow). Driven out to rural New York to find inspiration, Richard spends his days staring at a typewriter and seeking advice from his lifelong imaginary pal, Captain Excellent (Ryan Reynolds). Growing frantic as his writer’s block intensifies, Richard finds some peace in Abby (Emma Stone), a prickly teenager with her own persistent set of self-worth issues. The two form a tentative bond over a love of soup and kindness, but their age difference troubles outsiders, while Richard’s mania fights to find an outlet that will calm his agitated mind.

“Paper Man” has a curious touch of absurdity with the Captain Excellent character that’s rarely allowed to fully exhale. The idea is to suggest something of a Peter Pan syndrome for Richard, who holds tight to his fantastical superman as a means to retain a friend and encourage an accomplice. The relationship has wounded his marriage and bent his psyche, leaving him with no one else in his life but a platinum blonde muscle man clad in blue and yellow tights, topped off with a flowing crimson cape (Reynolds deserves an Oscar for making this role work at all). This visual is precisely where filmmakers Kieran Mulroney and Michele Mulroney lose the momentum of “Paper Man,” which walks a slack tightrope of borderline insanity that isn’t sure whether to make viewers laugh or cry.

“Paper Man” is heartfelt, but to achieve specific moments of emotional purging, the filmmakers turn on the melodrama hoses and wet down the screenplay with dreadful statements of creative and mournful denial. There’s a large number of incomplete character arcs going around this picture (including an unclear bit that finds Richard desperate to work with his hands), and the film only manages to articulate a small percentage of the hurt successfully. The rest of the story staggers around, assuming a sense of significance when nothing’s actually been earned. Daniels and Stone share a credible chemistry with a few solid scenes of endearing communication, but the directors don’t invest in the power of images, pushing the actors to bleat about in contrived circumstances to make a redundant point of frustration.

There’s a better film within “Paper Man,” buried deep underneath the fractured ideas and bizarre displays of invented companionship. It’s a shame the Mulroneys spend all their energy highlighting obvious points of conflict and immaturity, leaving an unsatisfying picture free of the cathartic wallop it so hungrily desires.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=20536&reviewer=404
originally posted: 04/10/10 14:40:51
[printer] printer-friendly format  

User Comments

4/24/16 oz1701 Emma Stones's performance lifts this turgid film out of its indulgent indy sensibilities 3 stars
Note: Duplicate, 'planted,' or other obviously improper comments
will be deleted at our discretion. So don't bother posting 'em. Thanks!
Your Name:
Your Comments:
Your Location: (state/province/country)
Your Rating:

Discuss this movie in our forum

  23-Apr-2010 (R)
  DVD: 18-Jan-2011


  DVD: 14-Sep-2010

Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About 
Privacy Policy | | HBS Inc. |   
All data and site design copyright 1997-2017, HBS Entertainment, Inc.
Search for
reviews features movie title writer/director/cast