By Lisa Schwarzbaum
August 07, 2009 at 04:00 AM EDT
Justina Mintz

Paper Heart


Impish performance artist Charlyne Yi — yet another talent hatched from the Knocked Up comedy incubator — says she doesn’t believe in love. In Paper Heart, the winsomely weird and original comic performance piece she co-wrote with director Nick Jasenovec, Yi travels across the country interviewing real fellow humans, looking for insight into what she’s missing. It’s more than possible that her attitude toward love is a posture — a stance of presexual girlhood as expertly chosen as her gum-colored thrift-shop wardrobe. Or not. This diverting riff is as much a spoof of film-school self-seriousness as it is a sincere art project, enhanced by Yi’s great, homemade puppets.

Likewise, the romance that develops ? unexpectedly between Yi and Michael Cera in the course of making her movie, captured by her “documentary crew” on camera (um, director Jasenovec is played by actor Jake Johnson), is another game of true-or-fake. (Yi and Cera were once actually linked in the past — I think.) In that way, the movie’s hide-and-seek attitude toward truth mirrors the intricacies of one lover getting to know another — an arresting notion of the heart that’s much more than paper-deep. B+

See all of this week’s reviews

Paper Heart

  • Movie
  • PG-13
  • 89 minutes
Complete Coverage
  • Paper Heart