PAPER MAN Review


"Paper Man" is a small yet highly qualified film. It is a purely indie film from the opening credit art and all the way through to its concluding line. It is insightful and funny yet dramatically moving at times. It certainly has its moments and though the story isn't as impactful their are four pretty special performances that allow this film to rise above what it might have been had it been left in lesser hands. In their directorial debuts, Kieran and Michele Mulroney, a husband and wife team, who yes, are kin to Durmont Mulroney seem to be unsure of which direction to take their own story in. The couple handle the documenting of these characters well, even if the story they have written for them isn't the most enduring nor does it warrant a nearly two-hour run time.

At the top of these performances is one by Jeff Daniels. It is nice, after a while of seeming to want to come off as such a serious actor that he returns to his good ole comedic self. As an author who is experiencing writers block Daniels plays his character as a bit of an eccentric, one who has issues with the ways his couch looks in its surroundings and how it makes him look when he sits on it. The biggest signifier that he is a little off though is the presence of Captain Excellent, a kind of conscious to our protagonist. And as played by man of the moment Ryan Reynolds, Captain Excellent is the best part of the film and no doubt the main idea that this film was founded on. Reynolds, who appears far less than he should offers the manic side of Daniels a good balance. As the story moves along our main character meets Abby, a young girl who seems to be the first human being to be genuinely interested in Daniels author, something sparks and a relationship develops. This relationship of course leads to misunderstanding and miscommunication, but it is the center of the story here and Emma stone matches Daniels point for point and turns in her most dramatic performance to date.

Kieran Culkin is as just a strong an asset to this story as any of his counter parts he is just in a less toted role. It seems though as the movie marches slowly towards its conclusion that we become more focused on the history of Abby and begin to lose focus on what the true focus, or more importantly, the significance of this story is. Instead of remaining on Daniels and his inner-struggle or on the relationship, we instead are dragged along on a story that should have concluded much sooner. We become enticed with these characters and we are entertained by the slice of life we are given, but its almost as if they overstay their welcome with the conclusion. We like them and the ideas they bring with them, but only to a certain extent. No more, no less.