I went to view "Paper Hearts," starring Charlyn Yi and Michael Cera this week. As a "documentary" about finding the meaning of love from a diverse cross section of the U.S., I think it basically fell short. The comments by "experts" were hardly informative and Yi's ungraceful style of interviewing didn't help the situation much. Most interesting interviews involved personal stories from long time couples. Who doesn't like an epic love story? Also saving the road trip segment were the accompanying amateur puppet shows apparently put up by Yi herself.
Where the movie shines is with the relationship between Yi and the equally socially awkward Cera. Though scripted, the timing and dialogue and especially the self-consciousness of the actors really brought life to this indie flick. I know this kind of relationship exists because I happen to know a couple just like them. It's real!
Equally convincing was Yi's relationship with the producer/director. Their friendship involves unethically looking at film footages of Cera admitting his interest in Yi to shooting plastic cups, has a freshness seldom seen in film. They support and push each other as well as annoy the hell out of each other, just like real friendships.
This film is imbalanced in that I find parts engaging while others trite. But, as an entertainment piece that offers the unique and highly under filmed romance between cool, sweet, creative nerds, it's two thumps up.
Catch it at your local art house before it's too late. Oh, below is a contestant from Yi's contest that gave away an ipod to the winner of the best "Magic Perfume" (song from Paper Hearts) cover. Kristy Hanson didn't win but loved her take nonetheless.