Paper Heart (2009) Poster

(2009)

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8/10
A Controversial Movie
BasSmurf14 December 2009
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.
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3/10
Trying too hard
NetLord9911 June 2011
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.
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7/10
Predictable and somewhat flawed, but still enjoyable
I_Might_Be_A_Duck29 November 2009
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.
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6/10
"Paper Heart"
Colin George6 April 2010
Warning: 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.
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Feel the quirkiness
EclecticEnnui8 August 2009
"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.
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8/10
a Sundance fave...
hprockstar7 February 2009
Warning: 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.
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8/10
All She Needs Is Love (but does she really want it?)
druid333-219 August 2009
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.
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3/10
This movie is trying to be something it's not.
lulu_aka_pinky10 July 2013
Warning: 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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6/10
Hard to watch, contrived, manipulated, pathetic
ixadeth27 December 2010
Warning: 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 perspective.

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.
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8/10
It was a delightful surprise, one of my favorite movies of all time!
mdbeck2 August 2009
Warning: 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 very sincere.

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.
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5/10
Kissed Nine Bucks Goodbye
cheryllynecox-129 August 2009
The basic conceit of this movie rather self-destructs as the line between documentary and reality show is deliberately blurred by cast and crew. Some people have described this film as quirky, but instead, I found it self-indulgent and contrived. Well, most of it anyway. I didn't believe for a moment that Charlyne Yi doubted that love, romantic love, is achievable, but alternately, I would suggest that she pretends she isn't lovable, and effectively, that affectation is less than adorable. Methinks she doth protest too much....

Some of the people interviewed had compelling stories, but nothing exceptionally profound, or remarkable. The film's conclusion left me rooting for the camera operator. Matter of fact, midway through the film I delayed making a trip to the restroom because I was certain I would miss the one essential element that would make "Paper Heart" worthwhile. As you might imagine, I was relieved when the credits finally rolled.
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7/10
Nice, pleasant 'mockumentary ' perfect for DVD as it is a lower half of a double bill film.
Jay Harris3 December 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Charlene Yi a writer & comic actress co-wrote this documentary style film on the meaning of love.

Nicholas Jasenovic directed & is the other co-writer.

It had a short run on about 50 screens late summer 2009.

Seeing it on DVD this evening, I did enjoy it BUT would have been disappointed if I saw it in a 'multi-plex'. Years back films of this nature would have been on the lower half of a double bill or had Vaudeville skits with it.

It is nice & pleasant,. she travels around the country asking various peoples if they have ever found true love.

Micheal Cera a promising new actor is featured as himself, he & Charlene did have a romance during the filming. The 2 of them wrote much of the music, it too is pleasant. Very good camera work & nice setting.

This is a worthwhile minor rental. You may not love it BUT you definitely wont hate it

Ratings: *** (out of 4) 81 points out of 100) IMDb 7 (out of 10)
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7/10
A Nutshell Review: Paper Heart
DICK STEEL29 September 2009
How do you define love? Is it something that's short lived and passionate, or a long drawn commitment? Is it that fleeting and can disappear on a whim, or something that you know for sure is permanent, consistent and wouldn't change? For those who have been through a phase of having loved and being loved before, you're likely to have developed your own philosophy - cynical, sentimental or pragmatic. For someone like Charlyne Yi who has never been in a romantic relationship before, the subject of love, and the dramatized account of her budding romance with Michael Cera, become the parallel stories in Paper Heart.

For director Nick Jasenovec (who appears in front of the camera played by actor Jake M. Johnson), meshing the two threads together in a seamless fashion blurred the line between fantasy and reality. At times the documentary segments crosses over to the dramatized narrative, that it becomes hard to tell whether Charlyne, as the explorer of the theme, is genuinely being herself, or just putting on a facade to be in character. The same goes for Michael Cera, who is aware of the camera constantly poking its nose into him and his relationship with Charlyne, whether he's hamming it up for the camera, or being really perturbed by the invasion of privacy.

But it is precisely the down-to-earth demeanours of both personalities, that make this film shine as we gleefully become voyeurs shadowing their every move, no thanks to the clause of having the film crew do just that, in case of missing out on any perfect moment suitable for the documentary. Those familiar with Michael Cera and the stereotyped characters he plays, will find the same kind of appeal in Charlyne, the musician-comedian being almost a female equivalent of Cera, and the pair share some great chemistry together in their young, inexperienced courtship. Who cares if they're faking it, as they do look adorable together, with their insecurities, hesitations and all!

Then there are the flat-out documentary segments, which in truth was to me as entertaining as they were enlightening, exploring the theme of love in as wide a spectrum as possible, gunning for interviews all around America from children and their innocent perspectives, to full-blown theories from various scientific fields. It's Love 101 for Dummies succinctly summarized in a film, where you'll begin to realize that it's pretty much all-encompassing, with personal interpretations from talking heads sharing their most memorable accounts in anecdotal terms. You'll find yourself adoring the puppets and landscapes (complete with moving parts, mind you!) crafted to reenact these moments, that they'll surely bring about a chuckle or two in the childish, kitschy style presented.

Don't head out the door just yet when the end credits start rolling, especially if you're a fan of that insanely touching yet comedic love song performed by Charlyne Yi, and for that little stinger at the end. It's an ambitious documentary of sorts for taking on a subject as vast as "Love", and personally I thought there's a subtle lesson learnt here from all the couples who have made it through their decades-long marriage anniversaries, and that is being a guy, it's as one of the interviewees mentioned, just say I do and subsequently, forever, just Yes Dear. Looking at the way the film got constructed, it's also important to keep the mouth shut, and agree with everything the lady says. Just watch the film, and see if you agree with me on this one!
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3/10
Is she mentally slow?
Mia6 September 2009
Warning: Spoilers
The best part of the movie was the section with the young kids at the playground towards the latter half of the movie, when she asked them about their thoughts on love and dating.

For the first 15 minutes of the movie I could NOT get over how mentally slow that Charlene character was. Was that an act? I know that hipsters are supposed to talk slower and walk slower, but that just seemed like her mental synapses were firing at a glacial speed.

On the other hand perhaps her slowness is due to an overuse of pot or other drugs.

Her facial expressions were awkward and some of her reactions just showed that she was beyond immature and some of her reactions just did not make sense. If she was teleported back in time to the 1950s people would think she was "special needs". There is such a contrast between the people she is interviewing and her.

Also I know that hipsters are supposed to be all quirky and individual (even though like all sub-cultures they all dress alike etc.) but I cannot stand hipster dialogue. How does sprouting random nonsense make someone "edgy" or "cool" or "deep".

We all always wear masks, Charlene's may be an outwardly quirky, performing one yet somehow her character seemed more like a 1950's housewife then a liberated modern females. She was just playing roles others expected of her, without discovering who she is. It's like she just wants to be anything but her. She wants to be a boy not a girl. Perhaps she will do a movie/documentary in a few years that is more accepting of herself, and perhaps when she looks back at this documentary she will cringe at her naive, immature self.

When they are in France in her hotel room and the director (who seems like a semi ass-hole)turns to Charlene and says something like I would ask you to shower and all that but I know you so I won't.

Up til that point when I was watching that movie I was sort of wondering if she had any personal hygiene... guess not.

And what is with NOT combing your hair.

And what is with hipsters and creativity, so you make little puppets that a 10 year old could make, does that automatically make you "creative"? If she was trying to be all cute, artsy and folksy she failed.

That song she sings about him smelling like Christmas wins the award for worst song lyrics of all time.

Overall I found this movie disappointing, perhaps if it dragged less and was cut down to an hour it would have been better. And the Cera-Yi relationship part would have impressed me more if there hadn't been that nonsense puppet ending with the police bullets and the Harley.

There were a few moments of humour, and some of the stories were romantic, but why was it always the women talking about how they knew it was love with the men sitting beside them with blank disinterested looks.

And the wedding chapel where the pretty young oriental girl marries the old almost-dead white guy, that kiss between them seemed too fake, it was like the girl was kissing him and going at it like the groom was Brad Pitt.

Essentially the subtext of this movie isn't that positive about love.

The movie is positive about motorbikes though.

And how would I answer her question what do you think love is? I would simply say that she needs immense amounts of therapy. That girl has issues. Also she seems to be a closet-lesbian, she dresses like one. Perhaps she will find love with a girl.
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2/10
So scripted, dorky and shallow I feel bad for the film-makers.
Wellenstock24 March 2013
Awful! However I have to admit that I only watched about 10 minutes of it and it's possible it got better. Maybe it's for children or they figure our society is so ignorant they might just enjoy it. There was something about the scripted-ness of the opening scene that was so tedious I was blushing with embarrassment for the film-makers. I really tried to watch but I was hurting myself by slapping my forehead and cheeks so hard while wincing with disgust. Fortunately I had other films to watch. My girlfriend didn't want to watch it either (thank you)! If you know the story of the Emperor's New Clothes it seems to apply here. Maybe there were too many enthusiastic relatives used as a test audience. I consider it damaging to other mock-umentary films. This brings the whole genre down a notch.
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9/10
Let your indie flag fly high
Chad Shiira7 September 2009
Warning: Spoilers
As jaded moviegoers obsess over the staginess of Charlyne Yi's encounters with Michael Cera- and no doubt about it, the scenes between the two twenty-something actors are probably closer to Mike Leigh territory(read: Yi and Cera probably created their filmic selves in a workshop) than it is to a proper documentary(or even reality television)- they'll overlook the fact that the budding lovers have chemistry, an elusive component missing from most contemporary romantic comedies. Yi's moonstruck dorkiness is a perfect match for Cera's suave dorkiness. On their first date, Yi's modifications to her BLT(she holds the B) offhandedly recalls Sally Albright's own culinary idiosyncrasies in Nora Ephron's "When Harry Met Sally"(where the high maintenance woman played by Meg Ryan customizes all her means with something "on the side"). Like the 1989 film, we see old couples telling the story of how they met. Donning anti-Lisa Loeb glasses and some downright frumpy outfits, Yi is anything but high maintenance, aggressively so when the filmmaker can't sway his subject towards the hygienic advantages of a daily shower. Far from being a polished interviewer, Yi somehow manages to record some charming stories that proves love's existence. The conceit behind "Paper Heart" is if the performance artist can find some of her very own. Is Cera the one? The former star of the defunct NBC sitcom "Arrested Development" matches Yi's quirkiness(his riff on Mexican Beach Salad gets laughs) and raises it, with an action that renders the reality/fantasy binary moot. Yi, playing a naive version of herself, projects vulnerability effortlessly, and this naivety is put through the wringer, as Cera abruptly leaves the table and walks out of the eatery. The moviegoer feels what Yi feels; complete utter shock, and discomfort, because moviegoers think they know Cera, who transmits kindness and decency in all of his roles that stems from his self-deprecating charisma. The departure feels real; Michael Cera feels real, because he finally plays another note, a dissonant note that counters his stylized persona of serial affability. Maybe, just maybe, Cera had revealed something about himself that he never intended the public to see: he's a Hollywood phony just like all the rest. Meanwhile, back at the table, Yi, a girl who passes herself off as one of the guys, thinks she gets the joke, and waits for Cera to return; she waits for the punchline, and waits and waits and waits. The moviegoers hold his breath for her, even though he's quite certain that the whole premise was planned. Yi somehow cuts through the artifice of the mockumentary, and makes the scene work on the level of romantic comedy. Her naif and waif shtick is convincing. The moviegoer loves her. Time and time again, Yi's natural charm tests the compartmentalizing of the movie's fiction and non-fiction elements, because her sunny projection of arrested development is unwavering in both arenas. Yi doesn't have a journalistic voice, a serious voice that insinuates a formalism upon the interview format when she's probing Americans about love. She turns journalism into a naive craft. The same "character" who spontaneously(we think) accepts a ride from some reminsicing biker she interviews at a geezer hangout, looks and sounds identical to the young woman who waits with bated breath for her date to alleviate her from abandonment anxiety. Only Cera, perhaps, could get away with playing such a mean trick, as he effortlessly ingratiates himself into Yi's good graces(and ours) by explaining his extended disappearance without being the least bit facetious. He smiles, but it's a sheepish smile; his get out of jail free card.

If Woody Allen wanted to remake "Annie Hall", these two actors would be perfect for the job. "Paper Heart" gets away with a lot. Homemade dioramas are pretty damn twee, but man, those low-rent creations sure are a welcome antidote to the industry's relentless use of CGI effects. Even the twee song works, because the person who sings "You Smell Like Christmas To Me" will capture your paper heart, if you let her.
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1/10
A girl goes on a quest to discover what true love is, finding it along the way.
penguinbackpackgirl1 January 2012
I watched this movie simply because of Michael Cera, and sadly I was very disappointed. The movie is so predictable, and it drags out way too long. At the end if left me wondering who ever thought that the ending was original or funny or whatever they were trying to do with it.The chemistry between the actors was natural and funny at some points, but overall I wish I would have never wasted an hour and a half of my life on this movie. Nothing about the movie made me impressed with the actors performances, and the only time I truly enjoyed the movie was when I was listening to the interviews of those in love. However I didn't think that the ending was natural or even remotely good. If I could sum up this movie in one word it would be boring, because it just keep dragging on, revisiting the same points, and I was just waiting for what I already knew was coming.
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As an experiment, very interesting. As a "movie", mostly a disappointment.
TxMike23 December 2009
Warning: Spoilers
I didn't know what to expect when I sat down to enjoy this movie, but it sure wouldn't have been what I got. There are 3 actors in this movie, written and made by the three actors, and all the rest are "himself" or "herself", where real couples talk about their own definitions of what love is.

"Will I ever find love" is the theme, and Charlyne Yi as herself sets out to answer that question. The film is done in "mockumentary" style, and the "chance meeting" of Michael Sera is really part of the script.

Michael Cera, actor, is Michael Cera. He begins to take an interest in Charlyne (pronounced Charlene) and as they begin to get more comfortable with each other the camera and director of the "documantary" follow them around.

Jake M. Johnson actually plays a role, as Nicholas Jasenovec who in reality is the director of this film.

All in all I found it interesting, but in the end an unfulfilling "movie" experience. On DVD.
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8/10
Paper Heart is a sweet romantic movie, but is not for everyone
alex-szatkowski17 June 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Paper Heart is one of the sweetest movies I have ever seen. This spawns from mostly from the documentary sequences of Yi interviewing random people about love, with the highlights of the story told by cutout puppets.

ALso in the movie is a scripted plot between the filmmaker and Michael Cera (Both portraying themselves). The film benifits from their on screen chemistry and overall likability as a couple. The movie follows the highs and lows of their relationship throughout the filming.

I loved Paper Heart when I saw it, but it is a fairly typical Indie movie. It is not overwhelmingly thought provoking, but rather a sweet feel good movie.

8/10
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1/10
Indie mockumentary or call it what you will about a famous actor and his girlfriend falling in love why supposedly on the quest for the meaning of love, bah.
slaven-117 November 2009
Terrible, really terrible. To avoid.

I wanted to stop there but have to put in other ten lines of text, so I will say it's a waste of time. I was actually looking forward to this, it looked promising, but it's a very shallow movie, with only one bright point which is Michael Cera, who seems genuinely nice and funny person. The rest is a really shallow. I guess he's the only reason this one got produced and even saw the Sundance festival. I gave it a shot and some of the interviews were funny and some almost touching but the whole thing was so pretentiously unpretentious pretentious and fake and unnecessarily long and "indie", that it really put me off. General advice to those who want to see it - don't bother to see it. General advice to people who shot it - I'm sorry but this isn't good filmaking.
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7/10
Paper Heart Movie Review from The Massie Twins
GoneWithTheTwins7 August 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Perhaps as whimsical and spontaneous as the very nature of true love, Paper Heart examines the varying degrees and definitions of that magical feeling with little finite direction, but the quirky characters and creative presentation balance out a wandering plot. Halfway through, the documentary approach gives way to the fairytale romance it set out to disprove, somewhat negating the efficacy of documenting reality, though the seamless blending with narrative storytelling does provide a uniquely intriguing result. Only upon outside investigation will the elaborate façade peel away; but almost certainly research will be done by those finding themselves drawn to the lives portrayed on screen. While the film may not tell you what love really is, it might angle your pre-existing notions about the subject towards something more promisingly optimistic.

A somewhat pseudo-documentary romantic comedy, Paper Heart follows Nick (Jake M. Johnson) and Charlyne (Charlyne Yi) on a cross-country journey to document what exactly "love" is. Interviewing ministers, happily married couples, chemists, romance novelists, divorce lawyers, a group of children and more, the determined young girl attempts to find definition and perhaps even experience the mysterious emotion. But as they travel across the United States and even venture to "The City of Love" her pessimistic denial may hinder her chances at finding real happiness.

Love can be defined in countless methods, as well as be interpreted in an endless amount of ways. But we already knew that. Paper Heart doesn't educate audiences on the many hypotheses, nor does it clarify the answers. It merely makes a social commentary on the subject. Movies and fairy tales have a lot to do with skewing perceptions on love and it seems that people are generally a bit skeptical. But whether it's a chemical reaction, a drug-induced state or a mystical phenomenon, the film only serves as an experiment in love - under the constant bombardment of cameras. The nonexistence of privacy is such a distracting factor that real love never has a chance at developing normally.

Paper Heart proves that Michael Cera is the same in real life as he portrays characters in film. It also proves that anyone can make a movie provided someone famous or well-connected is involved. Regardless of how much is staged, giving it a half-documentary feel, the stories by real people prove to be the most interesting. Yi and Cera's chemistry is like something out of a movie, and considering the involvement of the filming crew, it's never really more than that. Perhaps most unique is the improvised documentary approach, convincing us that the editing and presentation is based almost entirely on how an undetermined romance plays out. The editing with stylized paper dolls is similarly amusing, but in the end, Yi's beliefs don't really change. It's not about her inability to love, but rather her unwillingness to define it.

  • The Massie Twins
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8/10
I Want To Know What Love Is
valis194915 December 2009
Charlyne Yi, star of the faux-documentary, PAPER HEART, takes a most controversial stand on The Cosmology of Love. Not only has she never been in love, but she doesn't feel that it will ever happen to her because True Love might not even exist. And, after a random series of interviews and events, she creates a very strong defense for her position. While watching the film you are constrained to consider how silly and weak are the reasons and justifications that most people seem to have for their 'True Love'. The folks that were interviewed didn't seem to have any more valid cause to believe in 'True Love' than a six year old has a factual basis for a belief in Santa Clause. They all seemed to describe a 'wondrous experience', but I couldn't help thinking that it could also be seen as a 'delightful delusion'. PAPER HEART seems to demonstrate that most of what we suppose is 'True Love' is nothing more than heartfelt wishes which change into conviction over time. As one partner related how she first became aware of her love for her husband, I thought it was most revealing to watch closely the expression on her partner's face as her tale unfolded. Throughout most of the exchange, his expression seemed disconcerting at best. PAPER HEART is a small, light, and engaging film, and Charlyne Yi has more than enough charm to pull off the premise, but after the film ended, it left me with the feeling that maybe Arranged Marriages were not such a bad idea. And, maybe she does too.
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8/10
Love is a strange thing
Paul Celano (chelano)6 August 2010
This was a very clever film and it was funny, entertaining and a little sad all in one. There are a lot of cameos of people just playing themselves. I think just the guy filming it was not playing himself. It was filmed in a documentary style and for awhile you think it is all real. Charlyne Yi is the star that thinks she will never fall in love or even feel it. There are parts when you can really see how she is feeling and she is a joy to watch. Michael Cera plays the guy she starts to like. He uses the same type of comedy you usually see him use in other movies he is in. The director is played by Jake Johnson; the only guy not playing himself. He was an interesting character to add. He shows he felt for the main character, being her friend. But he really wanted to end the movie. We have all felt like Charlyne sometimes. I know I have. That is why I had a connection to this film. So I think this film can only connect to certain audiences. There were some very interesting hand made scenes in the film with paper and other things. That was a nice little art style to add. I was enjoying this film all the way until the end. I will not ruin it, but I will say it was not what I wanted and I think it was a really bad move on their part to end it that way. But overall, a charming movie with a great cast of actors just playing themselves.
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1/10
Uninspiring, misguided, lost.
BigCityMonk14 November 2009
From the very beginning it was obvious to me that Charlne had some emotional issues and is a highly insecure and clumsy person.

The crude and uninspiring interviews did not impress me a bit nor her awkward and most often irrelevant reactions to what was going on around her.

As time went by and observing her relationship with Cera I came to realize that this girl needs some serious psychotherapy. But thinking her relationship with this poor lad was for real I couldn't help it but feel empathy for her and pity for Cera.

After watching the movie I read on Wikipedia that her relationship with Cera was all an act! It made me laugh and realized I completely wasted my time watching this movie. I'd have rather watched a series of uninspiring interviews with real people than her so-called relationship with Cera.

All in all, the movie has absolutely nothing to say about love. Charlene seems to be completely lost and it all shows in the movie. A good example is the Asian lady getting married to an old guy 40 years her senior. Yep, that's love, green-card love! Charlene, you got it dear!

As another person pointed out this girl has issues and is seriously lost, perhaps she is a closet-lesbian after-all, that will definitely explain a lot of her unexplainable behavior.

This so called documentary teaches nothing that is of value.
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1/10
Can I have my hour and a half back, please?
Ronn Alford3 January 2010
Whatever potential this film could have had simply crashed and burned.

I was even more annoyed when I read after the fact that it was a "mockumentary"; that it wasn't even real.

Awkwardness like this I imagined couldn't be faked.

So maybe they are better actors than I thought. Nonetheless I really didn't like this movie and the only thing that would have made it any worse would be if I had paid to see this movie in a theater.

Or if it was longer.

Don't waste your time.

Really. Just don't.
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