Comic musician (or musical comedienne) Charlyne Yi teams up with director Nicholas Jasenovec to explore the concept of love — what it is, what it means, how do you know it when it sneaks up on you in the parking lot of Biggs as you touch the germy handle of the grocery cart. You get the point, I hope.
The thing about this crazy little documentary about love is that Jasenovec and Yi haven’t exactly made a documentary at all. Paper Heart is a story framed like a documentary in which Yi half-heartedly interviews people and deals with her somewhat intrusive co-writer and director Jasenovec (played by Jake M.
Johnson) until she encounters Michael Cera (pretty much playing Michael Cera, which seems like the only role he’s suited to play) who thinks he might be falling in love with her (in a “love at first sight” situation that makes you wonder if love really is that blind). That last comment is not meant to imply that Yi lacks charm, but up to the point where she meets Cera, she has offered conclusive evidence to her inability to feel or inspire feelings beyond quirky associations that could be considered friendships only in this age of Facebook connections.
Yet despite the odds (or thanks to loose scripting), Yi and Cera embark on an onscreen journey towards an imperfect union, constructed, ironically, of thin parchment. Her heart might have been in the right place, but in terms of execution, Paper Heart is too smart for its own good. Grade: C-