Last week, I got a chance to attend the Asian American International Film Festival on its opening night to watch Paper Heart, a movie about finding love even if you don't believe in it.
The film follows comedian Charlyne Yi, who is making a documentary about what love really is because she doesn't believe in love. She interviews people about their experiences with love and having their hearts broken, but remains skeptical until she meets a guy of her own. Enter Michael Cera. The two awkwardly embark in the "getting to know you" phase of a relationship -- or as much of a relationship as you can have when you don't believe in love. The documentary Charlyne is working on takes on a new form as her friend and documentary director Nick Jasenovec, played by Jake Johnson, insists that their story is now part of the documentary.
The movie mixes in documentary and the stories of real people, with the scripted storyline. It's sometimes hard to know when reality ends and fiction begins, but it's certainly more than entertaining to watch. All the while, paper dolls are used to illustrate the love stories being told. Okay, that part sounds strange, but it really works!
Michael Cera was pretty much what you think he's going to be like in a love story -- equal parts awkward and funny. It was easy to sympathize with him along the way, but just as easy to laugh at him. However, Charlyne Yi, although not as well-known, more than holds her own. She is the one who takes us on this wacky trip, seemingly confident and clueless at the same time. In addition to being the movie's star, she is also a writer and executive producer of the film. Jake Johnson's role as Nick, the director, was also good, though he overacted just a tad in some of the scenes. But overall, he added a nice balance to the quirkiness.
This movie was sweet, awkward, endearing, and hilarious. It opens in select theaters on August 7, so watch the trailer and check it out.