Going to the movies is like a first date. There's great anticipation and hope you'll make an emotional connection so the night won't end in frustration. And you can usually tell how things are going to go in the first few minutes.
It takes mere seconds with "Paper Heart" to see it is neither attractive nor has a good personality. The film starts with a core of dullness so thick it never gets past humdrum. If this film were a dinner date, you would sneak away before the appetizers were served.
Charlyne Yi, one of the most dreary people ever to grace a movie screen, is the narrator of a documentary that includes real interviews about love set against a fictionalized love story. The fuzzy plot is that Yi doesn't believe in love so she heads out on a cross-country road trip to find out whether it exists.
Despite stumbling and giggling through most of the interviews, Yi discovers a wide assortment of people who deeply and passionately believe love exists. The interview subjects are so interesting it's criminal they were not in a real documentary on the subject of love.
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There are a few interesting moments with the way some of the stories are re-created through the use of homemade puppets against cardboard sets. Those moments aren't enough to give the film any spark.
As if this movie had not hit the peak of uninspiring, former "Arrested Development" star Michael Cera shows up as a potential love interest for Yi. Cera is supposed to be playing a version of himself, but he is so bad that the role should have been recast. Together, Yi and Cera bring a whole new meaning to bland.
"Paper Heart" has a ring of truth when Yi and Cera are not on the screen. Unfortunately, any momentum the movie builds with the interviews crashes into a monumental wall of blah that is Cera and Yi.
Even the movie's conclusion lands with a thud. Despite a steady stream of people who argue elegantly that love exists, Yi either does or doesn't believe them. You certainly can't tell by her sleep-inducing acting.