Paper Heart

2009

Paper Heart

Critics Consensus

Equal parts charming and refreshing, Paper Heart is a quirky mockumentary led by the endearing Charlyne Yi.

60%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 110

45%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 44,724
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Movie Info

Real-life sweethearts Michael Cera and Charlyne Yi star in a fictionalized version of their romance in this indie semi-documentary comedy, written by Yi. Playing themselves, Yi and Cera embark on a scripted version of their own story. In the movie, Yi has agreed to be the subject of a documentary about her quest to discover if love really exists, since she's never experienced it. As part of her participation in the project, she has a film crew follow her around throughout every new development in her love life -- which gets complicated when she starts dating fellow comedian Cera. This portion of the film is all narrative, and was written into the script, but also as part of the documentary, Yi travels the country interviewing various people about their opinions and experiences with love, and these portions of the film are real -- the interviewees are not actors. Melding truth and fantasy, Paper Heart uses equal parts comedy and realism to resolve the ultimate question of whether love is fact or fiction.

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Critic Reviews for Paper Heart

All Critics (110) | Top Critics (36)

Audience Reviews for Paper Heart

  • Jul 28, 2011
    "A story about love that's taking on a life of it's own." Paper Heart is an odd and extremely off beat fake documentary. What's more odd then the film is the fact that I actually liked it. Not a lot, but I did enjoy it for the most part. On another note, I don't think I could come up with a couple that is more perfect for each other then Charleyne Yi and Michael Cera. Both of whom are the definition of awkward.  The movie really relies on if you can take Yi's brand of humor or not. Most can't, I however, am a fan of the awkward, it's so not funny it's funny comedy style Yi employs. The movie centers around Yi not believing in love. She meets Michael Cera and likes him, but she still doesn't believe in love. Although I did like the movie, it does over stay it's welcome. But it is a short little movie; clocking in at about an hour twenty. We see familiar faces like Seth Rogen and Demetri Martin for little cameos.  The only thing that really got old was all the old couples that have interview. I can understand a few, but it seems like overkill. They all say basically the same thing. If they would have cut one or two of them out, I would have liked Paper Heart a lot more. The runtime would have came in at like an hour and five to ten minutes, but that probably would have helped the movie a little too. As it is though, I still enjoyed it for it's awkwardness. I would never recommend it to anyone though because I do understand that the majority would not like this movie at all.
    Melvin W Super Reviewer
  • May 29, 2011
    Oh my god, I'm usually not that shallow, but Charlyne Yi is so unattractive and awkward I literally could not watch for any longer. Girlfriend best not act ever again. Also this movie: way way too annoying and self-aware, even for hipsters.
    Jennifer X Super Reviewer
  • Oct 06, 2010
    "Paper Heart," a mildly appealing mix of documentary and fiction, starts with musician/comedian Charlyne Yi looking for love in Las Vegas. Spurred on by fears that she will grow old alone(as of this writing she is 24), this is only one stop on her tour to interview couples to hear their romantic stories that also includes Amarillo, Nashville and New York City. Some of which are animated in charmingly low tech ways. As long as the movie stays with her and her odyssey, the movie works its bittersweet magic. And bringing in a love interest in an improvised storyline to perhaps prove her wrong is not a terrible idea. But when it turns out to be Michael Cera at his most feckless whose fame is also enough to pop the documentary bubble, any kind of good will quickly disappears. On the other hand, maybe it is just the movie's and the universe's way of saying you do not have to settle. Face it, you are never going to be truly alone when you have a documentary film crew following you.
    Walter M Super Reviewer
  • Sep 12, 2010
    4.6/10 Meh. That would be my consensus for “Paper Heart”, which is without a doubt a misinterpreted mixed bag. I know what to think of it, but that’s still not a whole lot. I can honestly say that while this isn’t the most awful piece of crap of all time, I was never really interested in what it had to offer. This is simply a film that turns emotion into boredom and romance into pretentiousness. For a movie about a girl who flat-out just doesn’t believe in love, it is lacking the necessary depth. Michael Cera and Charlyne Yi are good in their roles, but that’s about it. The documentary style makes it all the more disappointing considering that the on-screen romance (which isn’t that great to begin with) isn’t even real or at least realistic enough to be worth a damn. The film just doesn’t cut it as far as romantic comedies go. It’s not romantic enough and it sure as hell isn’t genuinely funny enough. It has some solid drama in there, but it just didn’t do it for me. It has a good amount of heart, but it’s never enough. So basically it’s just one big mediocre disappointment. Luckily it’s not mediocre in a stupid sort of way, but then again how can it be? A film starring these two young souls can’t be stupid (unless it’s terribly generic…which it very well could be in this case). Charlyne Yi actually makes herself noticeable through both her efforts and her involvement in the actual film, while Michael Cera tries to branch out a little from his typical awkward roles. It doesn’t work terribly well for Cera, but Yi can be semi-delightful for the most part. At least she’s endearing. But she doesn’t have much more going for her. In the end, it turns out to be another boring, forgettable, and formulaic film. For some reason, it has gotten praise from some people. I just can’t figure out how someone could possibly like this as much as some did. I mean, it’s not THAT good or THAT unique, and it certainly isn’t quirky enough to strike me as terrific. It’s not particularly effective and/or funny, so in that sense it fails to impress. “Paper Heart” has a good shot at the hearts of others, but it simply didn’t capture mine. This is a documentary which essentially centers on characters whose names resemble those of their respective actors. In this case, the central character is comedian Cherlyne Yi. Yi has trouble understanding love and thus does not believe in it. But there’s proof all around here that it must be real. So what better to do than film everything you do in your pursuit for love? And I suppose its best to enjoy it too, right? Well, Yi does all that and more in her adventure to discover love for herself. And what do you know, Michael Cera is the one to bring it all too her! And guess what else? NOTHING MUCH HAPPENS. As the relationship gets more and more serious, problems arise. A couple cannot truly be in love with cameras in their faces all day. It just doesn’t work that way, and Michael is the first one to point that out. There’s even scenes where the couple tries to escape the cameras and get a little “alone time” together. There’s kissing, hugging, and more sappiness than an ol’ Oak Tree. Shortly after arriving to this film’s promising trip, you realize that something will go wrong. It then turns into something predictable, thoughtless, and melodramatic. I see the message that the movie is trying to tell, but it’s not original. And even if it was, it wouldn’t have helped the film much. I prefer substance over style, thank you. But this time, the film doesn’t have style or substance. It’s left with nothing but a few good moments and pretentious attempts at being funny and unique. I don’t really like romantic comedies…but man, oh man. This is just another one of those films. And the worst part is that it doesn’t want you to think that. It tries to intoxicate you enough to care. And for some people it actually worked. Tell me, how does a super sappy, melodramatic mediocrity piece manage to work? I’m still waiting on an answer. Michael Cera and Cherlyne Yi use their combined efforts to nearly save this film. But in the end, I still don’t like it. First off, this isn’t even THAT great of a performance from my ol’ pal Michael. Cera is more of an awkward guy, although I do like when he branches out to good effect. This is clearly not one of those times. Cherlyne Yi however gives a more lively performance. As the female in the unlikely pair of lovers, Yi gives off surprisingly good vibes. She is pretty relatable and easy to like for the most part (it’s called endearing), although for a comedian she really didn’t bring much to the table humor-wise. It could have been a funnier movie overall, but I guess to keep her character realistic; Yi was required to remain low-key. Now, one of the bests things about this movie are the celebrity cameos near the beginning of the film. Those appearances include Demetri Martin, Seth Rogen, and a several-second appearance from Martin Starr (as always). I myself have indeed pondered the question that the film’s central character asks: Does love REALLY exist? I don’t think anyone can really answer that. I know that I sure as hell can’t. Well at least Cherlyne Yi takes action and tries to answer her questions, unlike me. I simply sit around and wait for it to come for me. The film makes a good point at times. Love is indeed a difficult thing and can be nearly impossible to find. But sometimes those who ache for it can find each other pretty easily. And in this case, Yi met Cera, and it clicked almost instantly. There’s good karma between the two lovers, which results in a believable romance which is squandered by the fact that nothing is real. That fact alone hurts this film a LOT. And by a lot, I mean a lot. I may have enjoyed the film if it didn’t try so hard to appear as real. Smart people know that it’s not. Is it really necessary to release a film like this every year? Do we really need this much films which try to tell us the events are real although they are not? 2010 gave us “The Fourth Kind”, and apparently last year gave us “Paper Heart”. While less formulaic than most romances, that alone still doesn’t make it any less so. This is still a predictable and sappy little indie romance. There’s heart in it for sure, but it’s buried beneath old fashion cheesiness and genuinely dull humor. There’s nothing funny, or particularly amusing, about the experience that this film offers. Sure, it proves a good point. But really, does it matter when you’ve got a terribly mediocre film on your hands? No. It doesn’t. And that’s the point that I’m trying to make with this review. I’m trying to tell you that everything about this film is generic, and there’s nothing really unique about it (aside from the documentary style cinematography, which in itself is getting pretty old). The soundtrack has some Michael Cera songs and some Cherlyne Yi songs scattered throughout. Fitting, I guess. Romantic, you say? Predictable and melodramatic, I say. This film is not an ultimate failure. It can be uplifting at times, but never touching. It simply does not have enough considerable depth beneath all the sappiness and pretentiousness. Sure, there’s star power. Sure, Martin Starr makes a cool-ass cameo. But you know what, that’s not enough. You either give me what I want (humor, romance, etc.) or you don’t get squat from me. And that’s pretty much how it is with this film. I really do have mixed feelings about it, although try “Paper Heart” out for yourself. It will either charm or bore you to tears. It did neither for me. But if it were close to doing anything, then it just barely escapes boring me to tears. Still not enough? Hell yeah it’s not. I still want more, sadly. This isn’t a tasty enough morsel. But will it do? Maybe. It’s not painful to watch, and thank god it’s not memorable. But sadly I needed to get my fix for Michael Cera, and I didn’t exactly get it. Well, onwards to bigger and better things I guess. No sense in trying to remember this near-abomination of a film that is neither an abomination or (particularly) a film. That’s my approach, and it may as well be the best one. Otherwise, Michael Cera’s OTHER 2009 attempt is disappointing (kind of like his OTHER 2009 movie, “Year One”).
    Ryan M Super Reviewer

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