Paper Heart


Directed by: Nicholas Jasenovec
Written by:Nicholas Jasenovec, Charlyne Yi
Starring: Charlyne Yi, Michael Cera, Jake M. Johnson
Released: October 22, 2009
Grade: C+

Paper Heart is a peculiar low-budget flick that tries to mix reality with fantasy.  Film director Nicholas Jasenovec is trying to make a documentary about love.  His focus is a young actress named Charlyne Yi who just can’t seem to find the right guy.  Yi seeks advice from others more experienced on the subject matter with the hope of learning something valuable.  In the process, she befriends and then falls for big-name actor Michael Cera, who reluctantly finds himself drawn into the documentary.

That’s what the film is about.  What makes it a little more confusing is the fact that it has been directed by Nicholas Jasenovec – the same name as the character in the movie.  Jasenovec doesn’t play himself though.  That honour goes to Jake M. Johnson.  However, Charlyne Yi (Knocked Up) and Michael Cera (Juno) ARE playing themselves.  Well, some sort of warped version anyway.  I honestly have no idea as to what’s real and what’s not.

This low-budget independent film is trying to be a little “too cool for school”.  You can tell that the cast had fun but it feels more like a school assignment than a full blown big-screen motion picture.  I found Charlyne Yi to be an incredibly annoying character and didn’t really care if she found love or not.  Sorry if I sound like a Grinch.

There are some positives to the film though and the interview scenes offer some insight into the mysteries of love.  There’s a nice scene where Yi speaks to a group involved with a wedding chapel in Vegas.  She also speaks to a couple who have been together for over 50 years.  This all felt a lot more honest than her own up-and-down romance.

I feel a little guilty giving Paper Heart the thumbs down because at least it’s trying to be original.  I’m also a fan of Michael Cera (despite the fact that he’s very one-dimensional).  Sadly, it lacks a decent storyline and comes across more as a silly novelty.