Synopsis: A washed up writer forges a bond with a teenager from Long Island.
Release Date: April 23, 2010 MPAA Rating: PG-13
Genre(s): Comedy, Drama
“Paper Man” begins with a very promising, visually interesting title sequence that involves an extended stop motion paper collage that prepares its viewers for the meshing of the real and imaginary worlds. Unfortunately, the film does not live up to its artistic opening and it becomes visually bland and repetitive after the first forty minutes. “Paper Man” attempts to sew together three relationships into one cohesive storyline while never offering an explanation for any of them. The first is an unlikely friendship between a writer, Richard (Jeff Daniels), and a young girl, Abby (Emma Stone), that is sweet despite its inappropriate context. The second is a relationship between Richard and his imaginary friend, Captain Excellent (Ryan Reynolds). According to the film, Captain Excellent has played a major part in Richard’s subconscious since he was in second grade however their relationship onscreen does not prove symbiotic in any way. Instead, Captain Excellence comes off as more of a burden to Richard rather than an assistant. The idea of making an imaginary friend a prominent secondary character was novel but the realization of it on screen was ultimately uncreative. Reynolds’s character is almost completely unnecessary and actually drags down the pacing of the film. The third relationship is a marriage between a realist, Claire (Lisa Kudrow) and the dreamer, Richard. Their relationship is very unique in that they are living separately but are not separated. Kudrow and Daniels really were able to play off each other well and some of the best scenes in the film occurred between the two of them. What results from this cinematic sewing together is a film that feels as haphazardly stuck together as paper mache and as folded up as the origami Richard attempts to make. It definitely feels like three separate movies because the three relationships are neither well integrated nor meaningfully put together. There are intriguing elements of dark comedy and a great potential for depth, however the film seems to teeter on the edge of being beautiful and philosophical but it never plunges down into it and therefore achieves nothing noteworthy.
Jeff Daniels was extremely multifaceted in his role of Richard. He brought a lot of depth to the character and gave a very natural performance. Emma Stone’s portrayal of her character Abby seemed slightly forced and shallow. It was not that Stone was a poor actress but it seemed that it was a poor casting decision. Lisa Kudrow was brilliant as Claire, Richard’s cold-hearted surgeon wife. The amount of subtlety with which she brought to the character allowed Claire to be very believable and sympathetic despite her being cold and distant towards Richard. Ryan Reynolds’s depiction of Captain Excellent was neither funny nor imaginative. He is supposed to play an imaginary superhero friend and yet all he offers is the same post-graduate frat-boy humor we are accustomed to seeing him play.
Cast and Crew
- Director(s): Kieran MulroneyAra KatzArt Spigel
- Producer(s): Richard N. GladsteinMichele MulroneyKieran Mulroney
- Screenwriter(s): Jeff Daniels (Richard)Emma Stone (Abby)Ryan Reynolds (Captain Excellent)
- Story: Lisa Kudrow (Claire Dunn)
- Cast: Sam SeigEigil BryldBill Groom
- Production Designer(s):
- Costume Designer:
- Casting Director(s):
- Music Score:
- Music Performed By:
- Country Of Origin: USA