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|Index||36 reviews in total|
As you may have noticed with all the comments, this movie might be
mediocre, terrible, great, or some weird combo. I'm one of those who
think this was a great movie, but I hope to explain the discrepancies.
First, let's get my biases out of the way, so that you can judge my comment accordingly. I am a Michael Cera fan. I am an indie movie fan, but not an aficionado. I wanted to see this movie. I'm a young guy who likes some romantic movies, but they have to be rather good. I didn't know anything about this movie aside from what the trailer tells me. I think that does it.
A lot of the comments on IMDb about this movie center around the format. I agree that the style is important to talk about, but not the only thing. The style is documentary, but with certain deviating aspects. It isn't Blair Witch Project; it has decent editing and lighting. The angle is natural, all from a guy or three carrying cameras. Certain scenes are done in paper cutouts in paper scenery and wires for movement. These are usually the scenes that they didn't catch on camera and are important to the plot. These scenes are really charming because of their scale and their construction.
The "acting" is also good. The most controversial aspect of this movie is the content, or the plot. Some think that this movie is either simply an observation of life or a movie about an observation of life. Either real or reel, some might say. I tend towards some middle ground. I think that this movie is a documentary about real life including a documentary about real life. There are staged things and things that look really genuine, so I think that it's more of an embellished real story. The cynic in me thinks that a lot of it is fake, but they did a really convincing job so I hope its all real.
If you are an optimist, this story will be really cute and lovable. If you believe it to be faked, it's a bad movie. That is why I think it is mostly genuine, if not completely. If this was produced in any really directed way, it would not have included some things in it that it did. But then again, they could have included it to make you think that. Whether you're paranoid about that sort of thing is beside the point. This movie feels very real. I know some of my dates were almost exactly like some in this movie. Charlyne is believable and so is Michael Cera.
Michael Cera plays a really cool guy with a cute awkward disposition. If you're a fan of Michael Cera, you'll recognize his characteristic style, but now I believe that style to be more of just how he is instead of an acting style. Regardless, he's endearing. Charlyne is also really lovable because she's funny and easily embarrassed. The two are quite genuine and work really well together because of their similar personalities.
Overall, a cute and lovable movie. The ending is unsatisfactory, but that's because there is no end that would fit the story and remain truthful to real life.
"Paper Heart" falls in line with the "Bruno/Borat" style of
film-making, where viewers will probably be asking themselves, "How
much of this is real and how much is staged?" Maybe in this case it
isn't staged at all. I personally don't know, but I have to say "Paper
Heart" feels very real, which is an obvious difference to those two
Sacha Baron Cohen movies.
The plot has a documentary crew following around Charlyne Yi who's looking to understand the concept of love, by traveling around America and interviewing people. Charlyne is an offbeat young woman who doesn't believe in true love, herself. She could easily be a geeky friend of Summer from "(500) Days of Summer", another recent Sundance romcom. Charlyne meets Michael Cera at a house party, who acts just like the characters he played in "Juno" and "Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist". Charlyne and Michael soon become a couple, although Charlyne not surprisingly retains her status of true love.
While on the road, she meets couples who share their feelings of love and give stories on how they met. Some of these stories are re-enacted in a very whimsical fashion, by using cardboard, cotton, marker, etc. If you saw "The Science of Sleep", they're similar to those fantasy scenes, except those probably were more time consuming to make compared to "Paper Heart". While these scenes are still cute and funny, they are a bit predictable and, yes, pretentious. But hey, I can give credit to the filmmakers for trying to be creative. In fact, the final scene in the movie is the best, because it parodies those scenes in an awesomely over-the-top fashion.
The movie itself is charming and often funny, but it does wear out its welcome after awhile. I felt like there were scenes that could be cut shorter or didn't really have to be included, like the interview with kids at a playground about love. It seems like it was done just for fun or for timing. It does have one good line where a girl says she's in love with Chris Brown (or someone named Brown) and says to Charlyne, "At least I admit it."
"Paper Heart" doesn't have any real direction, but neither does life. Are Charlyne and Michael made for each other? What if their relationship doesn't last? It's something the filmmakers just have to work with. From what I got, there's no defining message about what love is, other than it's to each his own.
Let me start off by saying, "I don't like Michael Cera." Awkward.
Quiet. Almost prepubescent. He's displayed the same characteristics in
every role. It's exhausting! That being said, Paper Heart wasn't a film
I was too hyped about seeing. But the premise is what got me.
Faux-documentary starring musician/comedian Charlyne Yi as herself
questioning, "Does true love exist?" Along the way, Yi meets with that
loathsome robot of an actor Michael Cera, also playing himself. Their
meeting and continuing friendship and eventual relationship becomes a
center point for the documentary as the filmmaker Nicholas Jasenovec,
not being played by himself but by actor Jake Johnson, tries to find
out if Charlyne is finding true love.
Now, already knowing that I am a Michael Cera hater, you would think that I would have instantly written off the film the moment he appears on screen. Well. You'd be mistaken. We're shown a more toned down awkwardness of Michael Cera. He's more laid back and actually kind of suave, in his own weird Michael Cera way. It was actually... refreshing! The relationship between Charlyne and Michael actually seems genuine. They exhibit a great amount of chemistry. Their evolution from acquaintances to friends to boyfriend/girlfriend is believable, which naturally benefits the film.
Charlyne Yi also has nice chemistry with the strangers she encounters and questions about the matters of the heart. The interviewees tell charming and convincing stories that do come off as real, unscripted moments. Overall, Yi shines through in every scene. She's natural. Funny. Cute. Bubbling with enthusiasm.
By now, all movie-goers are familiar with the quirky, romantic comedy and the mockumentary. And Paper Heart does fall prey to an all-too-familiar style. The evolution of the characters is predictable. It progresses just like a normal romantic comedy would. (Not going to spoil the ending.) The "documentary" crew must have contained at least 3 or 4 camera operators. All the angles are covered. Edits between cameras are done with nearly precise accuracy. Normally, I would smile graciously upon such precision. But it doesn't quite work for Paper Heart. The film comes across more like a narrative film than a documentary, which you wouldn't think director Jasenovec would be going for. It sort of clashes a bit with the delightful chemistry between the actors in many cases and makes their performances seem more contrived than real.
Still, Paper Heart is a cute and enjoyable film. Michael Cera is a SURPRISINGLY good character and Charlyne Yi is as cute as a button. Predictable? Yes. Sappy? Yes. But still enjoyable. It's got heart. A heart stronger than the title might suggest. Paper Heart will be enjoyable for its target audience and may even be a good movie for adult couples to see. Love is a game of risk taking and can't be explained by anybody. Just take a chance. And if you liked Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist (I did not) or Juno (One great of '08) or just want to enjoy a cute little love story then take a chance on Paper Heart.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Does love exist? This charming film's goal is to find out. "Chuck" professes to not believe in love but after the first few minutes of the film, the viewer starts to get the idea that perhaps she just hasn't found the "right one". She sets out to film a documentary about love and interviews those who have found it, those who have lost it and those who haven't quite gotten there yet. And then, Michael (Cera) comes into the picture, and Chuck starts to drop the veil she's kept over her heart. At some points moving and other points laugh-out-loud funny, the viewer finds herself cheering these two on and hoping they find love.
This movie is very much like Charlene Yi. It pretends to be something
it's not, and doesn't quite succeed enough on any level. Is it a
documentary? No. Is it a scripted movie? Much more so than it pretends
not to be.
By blending predictable, scripted and entirely acted romantic comedy elements in with what "appears" to be more standard documentary-style interviews, the viewer is left to wonder if anything they are seeing is real, and once that foundation of belief is cracked, the entire movie loses legitimacy. It's not good enough to be a documentary; it's not good enough to be a romantic comedy. Two negatives do not equal a positive.
The movie borders on a saccharine-styled Blair Witch Project with better production values. Li further carries this deception into the real world, denying that she's dating Michael Cera, but then noting in other places that their relationship ended in 2009, conveniently as the movie is released. She also tried to create fiction around her age, pretending to be ten years or more older than Cera, even though she looks she could sit in a high school geometry class. This leaves us to wonder, Why? The deception adds nothing to the movie plot, it's not a cutting-edge move, it's really nothing more than an annoyance.
From the acting side, Li's cutesy nerd style plays well at the start, but wears thin as the movie progresses. Cera is normally a solid actor, but interesting his scenes are the ones where it's most obvious the movie has drifted from faux documentary to a clearly acted and scripted production. It's a bit unsettling.
It's not unwatchable, there's even one or two points where it's almost charming, but many viewers are going to walk away feeling a bit flat, and a bit played.
You don't need to dive to find the remote to turn this movie off it it happens to show up for free on your TV. Yet you're not missing anything if you make it through your earthly existence without seeing Paper Heart. It's mildly entertaining, but just as easily could have been produced by a second-year NYU film student.
Charlyne Yi claims she doesn't believe in love (although she seems to want to believe in it). She and her friend,director Nicholas Jasenovec (on camera played by actor,Jake M.Johnson,so that the real Nicholas Jasenovec can spend time behind the camera) hit the road to try and (somehow)answer her questions by interviewing anybody who is willing to talk on camera. In the middle of all this,actor Michael Cera (Nick & Nora's Infinite Playlist,Juno,Superbad)somehow strikes up a friendship with Yi,which somehow manages to turn into a relationship (of sorts). Of course,turns out to shift the focus in the film a bit. Other talking heads figure in this pseudo documentary cum mockumentary (actor/writer/director, Seth Rogan,who is a friend of Yi's,briefly turns up to put in his two cents worth). Along the way,we find out a little more about Charlyne Yi (besides being an actress,she's also a part time musician who actually writes & performs some of the songs in this film). Further down the road (ouch!---bad pun---my bad!), Charlyne & Michael start to get a bit tired of being in the camera lens when they just want a little down time to be alone together. Charlyne Yi seems a bit too tentative in her portrayal of herself at times. Worth taking a look at if you enjoy quirky,youth oriented film fare such as the above mentioned. Rated PG-13 by the MPAA for a bit of rude language & some mature content.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I am a sci-fi, horror and fantasy fan. I did not want to see this
movie. I am very happy I did. No spoilers here. Go see it. This is one
of my favorite movies of all time. It is funny and and touching and
In a nutshell: This is a movie (documentary) about a young girl who does not think she is capable of love. She travels the country interviewing people to try and understand love. That is all you need to know. If you are groaning because of the "L" word, ease up. I am a woman and do not like the romantic, chick fliks, I like things to explode and people to get beat up, preferably with martial arts. And I love vampires, zombies and other horrible frightening creatures. And I loved Paper Heart.
If you have prejudged it because of the actors, don't. That is why I did not want to see it. If you think it is simply another Judd Apatow type of film, it isn't.
I think it will appeal to a wide variety of audiences. Check it out, I think you will come out with a smile.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
"Paper Heart" is everything you'd expect from a post "Juno" Sundance
darling, which is probably enough information in itself to color your
opinion of the film. First-time feature director Nicholas Jasenovec's
pseudo-documentary examines the fictional relationship between
comedienne Charlyne Yi ("Knocked Up," "Semi-Pro"), whose thesis is that
she is incapable of love, and her real-life boyfriend, Michael Cera,
who's fast becoming the festival's crowned prince. The footage is
spliced together with decidedly ho-hum celebrity interviews (Seth
Rogen, Demitri Martin are featured) nonchalantly credited as
"Charlyne's Friends," experts in the psychology of love, and real
couples recounting the foundation of their relationships, aided by
ultra low-fi reenactments by Yi featuring rag dolls and paper sets.
The film is wholly indie, hitting the familiar beats and consulting that worn checklist (awkward quirky character's self-written guitar sequence--check). It's too cute and well meaning to dismiss outright, but for a film about love, it has nothing particularly profound to say on the subject. So "Paper Heart" seems then a fitting (if self-deprecating) title for the piece in that the real elements are supporting a merely average fiction, rather than the scripted segments bolstering a real love story: the heart of the film is flimsy, two- dimensional.
"Paper Heart" is in large part not compelling because we know it's fake. The audience second-guesses any potentially genuine moment between Yi and Cera, reducing the documentary elements to supplemental gimmickry and each awkward giggle to a calculation. The structure of the film is fairly formated (narrative/interview/reenactment/narrative), assumedly with the intention of keeping any one of the film's components from growing stale, but it almost has the opposite effect. The grating sequence of scene types ends up highlighting how little the filmmakers really have on their plate. The ending then scrapes the bottom of the barrel, taking a page from Herzog's "Grizzly Man" in its snooty refusal to share a piece of audio (here a post break-up conversation between Yi and Cera), but if the restricted information is fictional, who do they imagine cares?
Jasenovec and Yi, who's credited as co-writer, developed some intriguing concepts to be sure, and the premise sounds enlightening, but the utterly average romance between she and her co-star diffuses any potential... well, potential. What have we learned about love by the end of the hour and a half? Certainly nothing we couldn't have gleaned from a hundred other PG-13 romantic comedies.
"Paper Heart" does have a clear audience in mind, and it's fair to note I'm not it. The film will satisfy most and delight probably a few less traveled moviegoers. Approach it as a fictional film, and you may be less let down. The characters are mostly charming (save for the faux director played by a smarmy Jake M. Johnson), and there are a handful of legitimate laughs to be had.
Just don't listen to the Sundance hype that would have you believe every two-bit indie film coming off the assembly line is a revelation compared to Hollywood's weekly drivel. The truth is that independent films, particularly comedies, are becoming increasingly generic and exponentially more mainstream.
"Paper Heart" is likable enough, but is still a long shot from innovation.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The most disturbing part of this film was that it was hard not to feel
that Michael Cera was acting his romantic part in this pseudo-
documentary and that Charlyn was truly falling for it. On the surface
it appears as though Charlyn wants to make a documentary about how she
doesn't believe in love, but sets out on a trek across country trying
to find out what it means to other people. All the while, I got the
impression that the director had an agenda all his own, desiring to
manipulate Charlyn into falling in love during the making of this film,
Michael Cera being the catalyst. It is uncomfortable to watch from this
It exploits this homely characters weaknesses. I can see these men conspiring behind this innocent girl's back, proving to the viewer and to herself that she is capable of love, but that nobody had yet given her the time of day, or the opportunity for love. Regardless, Michael Cera's effortless approach serves only to exacerbate this perspective. All this desperate girl really needs is the slightest bit of attention to fall in love.
Her stubborn refusal to admit she is in love with Michael as her supposed friend traipses her around Paris for 12 hours in her weakest frame of mind just adds to the humiliation of it all, especially considering the scene where Cera walks her around the grocery store for a half hour trying to decide what to make for her to eat, settling on a frozen cheese pizza. So pathetic, you begin to wonder if she even has a mind or will of her own. Her friend/actor makes vague suggestions to perhaps be more feminine, or bathe, and that perhaps men would be more interested in her. She ends up awkwardly on Michael Cera's porch, like a lost puppy dog trying to find home. She fell in love and got her heart broken before she even knew what hit her. Oh, and the psychic was right.
I'd call this a nerdxploitation film.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I watched this movie, thinking I'd be watching a documentary about love, moreover it doesn't hurt that Michael Cera is in it. I usually really enjoy his movies. However I was left feeling very disappointed and cheated. I really do not believe for one second that Michael and Charlyne were ever dating. For starters Charlyne is an extremely bad actress and how convenient is it not that they meet, just as they started this documentary and we get to witness their "relationship" growing? The whole thing feels fake and set up. We have Nick insisting (in a very too obvious way) that he wants to catch everything on tape. I am left wondering what it is he is hoping to catch? At no point do we witness anything between Michael and Charlyne! There is no chemistry, no spark. It's all awkward (a bit too forced and indie if you ask me) and even their first kiss feels forced. As a director, if their relationship was real, Nick should have seen this and pulled the plug on going in that direction. This movie is about finding love and trying to figure out what love is. Yet the only thing it focuses on is a really bad "relationship". Charlyne & Nick travel around, and interview people, yet we don't really get any answers. I feel that the right questions have not been asked. They even go to Paris, "The city of love". Why don't we see anything from there? All we see is Charlyne walking around. Why aren't there any interviews? Why haven't they tried to find out what love is there? It makes absolutely no sense to keep on focusing on Michael and Charlyne when in Paris. Charlyne seems sweet but she lacks charisma, she's obviously awkward and shy (not in a good way) and doesn't shine through. We follow her through a whole movie and we never get to see the true her. How can that be a good choice for a leading person? Michael (and Nick at times) does all the fun things, he is his usual quirky self, which also makes you wonder how real this all is. These "romantic" moments feel forced and acted unfortunately, and I never see any true signs of attraction between those 2. The ending leaves you with a sense of confusion and meaninglessness. I feel that I have wasted my time, this movie is all cute anecdotes and doesn't ask or try to go further in the question of what love is. I feel a great let down, because I usually love Nick and Michael tremendously.
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