starring Charlyne Yi, Jake Johnson, Michael Cera
screenplay by Nicholas Jasenovec & Charlyne Yi
directed by Nicholas Jasenovec
by Ian Pugh The twain where mainstream comedy conventions and a certain vogue-ish indie aesthetic meet, Paper Heart is desperate to be seen as an earnest exploration of love but done in by an almost suffocating desire to please. Any emotion or profundity to be taken from this hybrid documentary is rendered irrelevant by its attempts to increase its entertainment value through cheap laughs. Comic Charlyne Yi (Knocked Up) is touring the nation asking passersby from all walks of life their thoughts on the nature of love when a chance encounter with young gadabout Michael Cera (Michael Cera)--more or less Yi's ideological soul mate--convinces her documentary's director, Nick Jasenovec (played on camera by an affable Jake Johnson), that they've found the perfect opportunity for romantic skeptic Yi to experience love first hand. It's a prefab narrative scenario meant to complement the documentary footage, though it's not exactly a "standard" love story since it casts doubt on whether anyone is actually in love. The problem is that it employs the worn-out tactics of pretty much every lame juvenile laffer from the last four years: bad jokes are told, then let out in the air to die--and everyone stares at each other for longer than is deemed socially acceptable. Because even the documentary aspects aren't enough to stand on their own, each story of true love is recreated by one of Yi's intentionally-amateurish puppet shows/third-grade dioramas, with the major players represented by Popsicle-stick people and every metaphor literalized to the point of ridiculousness.