Charlyne Yi, Michael Cera, Jake Johnson
Nick: Let’s get to it, Chuck, whaddya say? I would say shower up and stuff, but…I know you. Maybe throw some pants on…
Charlyne is not sure what it means to be in love. She’s not even sure she believes it’s possible for her to fall in love. With the help of her film-making friend, Nick (Johnson), Charlyne sets out to make a documentary about love. When she meets actor Michael Cera along the way, their growing relationship becomes part of the documentary.
This is an interesting little movie. Apparently a majority of the interviews done with the various people in the movie are real and would be considered a documentary. Meanwhile, there is a written story going on simultaneously, which involves Charlyne and Michael’s developing relationship. They’re both playing themselves, but I’m not sure if it’s really themselves or some version of themselves. Yi seems very natural, but Cera just seems like he’s acting at times. I mean, I know he is because that’s the written part, so I guess I’m saying it’s more obvious with him than it is with her.
The only person playing a character in the movie is Jake Johnson. He’s playing the documentary director, Nick Jasenovec, who is actually the director of Paper Heart. Make sense?
The question is, does this technique work? My answer is, sort of. For the most part, I enjoyed it, but going back and forth between documentary and written story is a little distracting. There’s a different feel between the two stories at times, especially with the way it’s filmed. I wish they would have made the scenes with Cera and Yi look a little more like a documentary, but there’s way too many camera angles for that illusion to be maintained.
Still, the movie is made with enough style, humor, and heart to make it enjoyable. I especially like the little paper animations that Yi creates to demonstrate various stories that the interviewees tell, as well as her own highly imaginative story at the end. In fact, that final segment might be the best few minutes of the movie.
While this isn’t ground-breaking movie making, and is far from a perfect film, I admire them for doing something a bit different and creative. Yi is weird, and charming, enough to carry the movie and keep the audience interested in her and her plight. We may not learn exactly what true love is or how it works, but we do learn a little bit about creative, entertaining film making.
A Harley Davidson motorcycle can be the key to some women’s heart.
10 – 1.7 for the distracting moments where the documentary illusion breaks down – .7 for some attempts at funny that don’t work = 7.6