Friday, June 4, 2010

Paper Heart

Directed by Nicholas Jasenovic.
2009. Rated PG-13, 88 minutes.
Charlyne Yi
Michael Cera
Jake M. Johnson
Demetri Martin
Luciano Yi
Lydia Yi

Plot: Charlyne doesn’t believe in love. She travels across the country getting ideas about what love is and if it really does exist. Along the way, she starts a relationship with Michael Cera (both are playing themselves).

The Good: The documentary style works well. It frees the movie of having to confine itself to many of the conventions of romantic comedies. Because of it, we’re not only interested in whether or not Charlyne will find love but also in the film within the film. It is at least as interesting watching Nicholas (Johnson) try to piece together a movie as it is watching Charlyne and Michael’s awkward companionship.

The Bad: While the various elements seem to work well individually, they never quite gel into a cohesive unit. It’s like watching three separate movies that deal with the same subject but have little to do with each other. Also, even though it wants us to believe her relationship with Cera is real, it feels painfully staged. We never feel any real connection aside from an odd fascination with one another. Instead of a developing romance, they seem to be on a perpetual first date. This makes our big dramatic moment near the end feel overly manufactured.

The Ugly: Am I the only one not sure if the biker dude’s joke about beating his wife was “only” a joke.

Recommendation: It’s an interesting movie with a lot of charming moments. Charlyne appears to have an adorable, if quirky, personality and seems to bring out those same qualities in the people she talks to. This gives the movie many of it’s cute anecdotes about love. However, the blurring of the lines between fact and fiction don’t work well here as it does in other “mockumentaries”. This makes it a frustrating watch and may lead some to tune it out.

The Opposite View: Angie Errigo, Empire

What the Internet Says: 6.1/10 on (6/3/10), 60% on, 54/100 on

MY SCORE: 5.5/10

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