Paper Man

13 Jul

Title: Paper Man
Year: 2010
Directors: Kieran Mulroney and Michele Mulroney
Writers: Kieran Mulroney and Michele Mulroney
Starring: Jeff Daniels, Emma Stone, Ryan Reynolds, Lisa Kudrow
MPAA Rating: R, language and a scene of sexuality
Runtime: 110 min
Major Awards:
IMDb Rating: 8.5
Rotten Tomatoes: 26%

What we have in Paper Man is a film that has been intelligently thought-out, has seriously outstanding performances by its main cast, especially by Emma Stone who I’m pretty much in love with, but that has such a weak script that it doesn’t let it live up to all it could have been. This a cool quirky film, with pretty cool eccentricities but nothing much beneath it to really keep it afloat or to really engage us in the story.

It’s about a guy who is left off by his more successful wife at a Long Island rental house so he can finish off his second book, except he has a bad case of writer’s block and his superhero imaginary friend, whom he has known since he was a child, is there with him. And that’s when we meet Emma Stone’s character, Abby, who’s a lonely high schooler who immediately clicks with Richard, the man played by Jeff Daniels. Their interactions are nice enough, or at least Mr. Daniels and Ms. Stone make everything they can out of their given roles, but I had this problem: I felt like there was sex missing. This is a problem for two reasons, 1) I didn’t want the characters to have sex at all, I look at my favorite film of all-time, Lost in Translation, and that’s a film that handles an older-man/younger-woman relationship at the very highest of levels and doesn’t introduce sex, I reckon the husband-wife writer-director pairing who made this film was going for the same vibe, but missed it entirely 2) The fact that I felt like there was something between the two completely hyperbolated every other fault I had with the film, maybe it is because I now associate Jeff Daniels so much to his The Squid and the Whale role in which he does indeed have sex with a younger student that I jumped too much onto this conclusion, but anyway, this  thing threw me off completely.

I absolutely loved the idea of an older man with writer’s block being visited by a superhero imaginary friend he had held onto from childhood, I think that had an immense amount of potential, but unfortunately the superhero, played by Ryan Reynolds, isn’t used well at all and ends up hurting the film, he was used to get out heartfelt conversations and to be funny, which he really isn’t at all.

However, I’m going to give this film a good grade for a couple of reasons, for one, I seriously dug the potential, and I know I shouldn’t reward potential when the result didn’t exploit it at all, but I dunno, it resonated with me, and lastly, the performances are pretty damn good, I mean Daniels is solid, Kudrow as his surgeon wife is pretty decent, but Emma Stone, who I have been drooling over since Superbad and in extreme salivating mode since last year’s Zombieland, is seriously amazing in this film, and I can’t wait for her next starring role, which would be Easy A which is set for a September release and also stars Kudrow, from my first impression of it I don’t know how good that will be, but yeah, keep an eye out for her, she has a seriously bright future ahead of her, and if that film doesn’t rock we have next year’s Crazy, Stupid, Love which seems like a guaranteed success to me.

Grade: B


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