Paper Heart movie poster
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Paper Heart movie poster

Paper Heart Movie Review

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In the faux documentary Paper Heart, comedian Charlyne Yi travels around the country in quest of the one thing that has eluded her young life thus far: love. Along the way, she meets and falls for actor Michael Cera, but the presence of cameras 24/7 threaten to destroy their relationship - and the movie.

Paper Heart is a mildly entertaining movie, though what genre to ascribe it to is challenging. Yi, a comedian by trade, co-wrote the movie with director Nicholas Jasenovec, who in the film is portrayed by Jake Johnson. It plays out like a real documentary, and more than likely some of the interviews are real, but everything is crafted with a very specific goal in mind: to show the rise and fall of her relationship with Michael Cera, who she allegedly dated in real life for several years (depending on which source you trust). Though much of it is clearly scripted, one thing can be said: the movie successfully plays out in a believable way, so much so that it's impossible to tell where reality ends and fiction begins.

Paper Heart has some funny moments, primarily thanks to Yi's likable performance. I hadn't heard of her before watching the movie, so I have no idea how similar she is to what is portrayed in the film, but it's hard not to find something to like in her awkward, glowing personality. Yi really brings the movie to life and carries much of it singlehandedly.

The movie does shine in the scenes between Cera and Yi, as the two have great chemistry. Their early dating moments are the best, as we see the two play off each other in a very realistic, awkward kind of way (of course, Cera plays awkward better than anyone).

When all is said and done, however, there's not a lot I got out of Paper Heart. As a mild romantic comedy, it's decent, but there's not enough emphasis on the relationship to say that Paper Heart is a romantic comedy. It is first and foremost a faux documentary, but the interview-style pieces aren't that interesting or compelling.

Paper Heart is a sweet little movie, but like many sweet little things, it's easy to ignore and forget. And that's Paper Heart's problem.

Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.

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