Michael Cera and Charlyne Yi All Kinds of Adorable in Paper Heart

Michael Cera and Charlyne Yi, moments before they are both shot in the back.
Overture Films
Michael Cera and Charlyne Yi, moments before they are both shot in the back.

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Paper Heart
Directed by Nicholas Jasenovec
Overture Films
Opens August 7

A documentary except when it's a mockumentary, this is all kinds of adorable and heartbreaking—the doc part, at least, in which Charlyne Yi (Martin Starr's girlfriend in Knocked Up) sets out to cross the country and find the meaning of True Love because she's pretty damned sure she'll never experience it herself. Sad, right? Except it isn't: Along the way, Yi bumps into Movie Stars who don't buy her bull (Seth Rogen tells Yi her "love glass is half full") and True Believers whose fairy tales she recounts using crude, whimsical homemade puppets. It's like those old folks' interludes from When Harry Met Sally as interpreted by a sweet hipster naïf. The mock part, though, feels a little too mock: At a bold-faced Hollywood house party, Yi bumps into Michael Cera, and his instant crush on the gawkward comic turns into the love affair Yi never thought within her grasp. The scenes with Cera play a bit darker than intended as Cera's crush evolves into full-on stalking, but director Nicholas Jasenovec plays the thing with so much deadpan earnestness that it's easy to miss the high "creepy" factor. Cera begins ingratiating himself into Yi's quest, but that part of the story is doomed from jump: It's entertaining for a moment, but hardly as enlightening or endearing as the from-the-heart moments surrounding it. Yet again, real people are more interesting than fake ones.

 
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