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LAFF Review: Paper Heart

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Before diving into a review of the wonderful Paper Heart, allow me to relate an episode from last night's screening. I think it provides a key insight into the whimsical mind of Charlyne Yi. Following the screening, Charlyne and director Nicholas Jasenovec sat down for a Q&A. Ten minutes in, Charlyne excused herself to the restroom. Moments later, she returned. Except she didn't. A man dressed exactly like her entered the theater and continued the Q&A as her. It's just that sort of innocent guile that makes Paper Heart so winning.

Inventively structured as a hybrid between a documentary and narrative fiction film, Paper Heart follows Charlyne and her director, Nick*, on a trip around the country as she listens to people telling her their own love stories and trying to explain what love is. A parallel narrative follows Charlyne back in Los Angeles as she meets and begins to date -- who else -- Michael Cera. Understand, the narratives in America's Heartland are completely genuine while the romance with Cera is entirely artificial. And yet the film works seamlessly.

* The actual director of the film, Nicholas Jasenovec, is played by actor Jake Johnson.