The weaker moments of Knocked Up, perhaps the funniest film of 2007, occurred when Charlyne Yi was given any sort of significant screen time. For all the talent available, from headliners Seth Rogen and Katherine Heigl to supporting stars Paul Rudd, Leslie Mann and Jason Segel, Yi was given some solid moments and they fell flat to an absurd degree. Somehow she managed to get her own film: Paper Heart.
Following her adventures as she tries to discover what love really is, she happens to find a relationship of her own with Superbad star Michael Cera. As she talks with people in various states of love, from a gay couple to a judge in divorce court, she has to figure out whether or not her presumed feelings of love can mesh with her newfound feelings for Cera. And for all the interesting potential, the film is rather bland and boring.
Filmed in a “mockumentary” style, the film is more spoof then it is actual non-fiction cinema. The “romance” between Cera and Yi, much speculated on, is fictional itself and has been added on to give the “documentary” aspect of the film an emotional hook. For their part the two have a quirky chemistry together but one that really doesn’t signify an emotional connection between the two; it feels more like a weird friendship then a grand love affair. The fact that it was made up for the film and that the two strenuously object to any sort of relationship removes any sort of intrigue to the proceedings. In any film there’s a suspension of disbelief in that we know the beautiful couple aren’t really in love, they’re merely pretending, but to see a film that plants itself as a documentary to have a fictional romance that’s been disavowed vehemently takes something away from it that the film can’t recover.
Yi, the film’s star, is given the film to interview people about love and proves to be a subpar interviewer at best. She has some charisma and a good screen presence but it doesn’t really translate to this film; she’s playing a version of herself that doesn’t feel authentic, which is odd given that the film is supposed to be a documentary and she’s supposed to be in her element.
Paper Heart tried to position itself as an independent comedy whose appeal would spread via word of mouth. Nearly breaking $1.3 million at the box office, the film never caught fire like Overture films thought it would because it’s a great start to a film but doesn’t really follow it up with anything beyond the concept itself.
Despite a low production budget, the film’s transfer looks great and doesn’t show the sort of production values a film this size would. With a widescreen presentation, and a Dolby digital surround, it doesn’t need to do much (as it isn’t intended as a film to show off a good a/v system) but what it has to do it does well.
Paper Heart Uncut is a series of outtakes and flubbed lines, with nothing important or meaningful (or even funny) said.
The Making of Paper Heart is a making of piece that doesn’t follow a true narrative; it’s a series of outtakes and creative meetings discussing what they did for the film.
Yi gives a Live Performance, which is interesting to say the least.
“Heaven” is a Music Video by Cera and Yi.
There’s a series of Love Interviews with several of the comedians in the film.
There’s a number of Deleted Scenes that were cut for a reason, adding nothing back into the film.
The film’s Theatrical Trailer, as well as trailers for Law Abiding Citizen, The Men Who Stare at Goats, Pandorum, Capitalism: A Love Story and Party Down are included.
This film is destined for the tag of ‘cult classic’ because it just isn’t that good. It’s entertaining to a certain extent, but doesn’t quite get over the hump from “entertaining” to “good.”
Overture Films presents Paper Heart. Directed by Nicholas Jasenovec. Starring Michael Cera, Charlyne Yi. Written by Nicholas Jasenovec and Charlyne Yi. Running time: 88 minutes. Rated PG-13. Released on DVD: 12.1.2009. Available at Amazon.
Tags: Michael Cera