Monday, May 16, 2011

Paper Man

"When the world is imperiled, when evil surrounds you, when danger is lurking, who do you call?" Paper Man, written and directed by husband and wife duo Kieran and Michele Mulroney, tells the story of a washed up author trying to write the follow up to his first book, and the unlikely friendship he forms along the way. Richard Dunn, played appropriately by Jeff Daniels, has been given three months by his publisher to come up with a new book. He and his wife, played by Lisa Kudrow, decide that Richard needs his "solitude" in order to finish (and start) his new novel. Richard moves into a house on the outskirts of Montauk, New York, while his wife stays at their home in the city. However, the solitude isn't as pure as it could have been. Richard's imaginary friend Captain Excellent, played by a bleached-out Ryan Reynolds, is along with him for the ride, whether Richard likes it or not. Captain Excellent provides whatever Richard needs of him, including his catchphrase stated at the beginning of this post. As Richard attempts to write, he is drawn into town where he meets Abby, a teenaged girl played by Emma Stone. It is here that an unlikely friendship begins to form. As the film progresses, we watch both Abby and Richard develop and grow as people and the friendship they have helps along the way.

I truly enjoyed Paper Man, much more than I thought I would. The direction captures the states of the characters' minds very accurately. There are many ideas throughout the movie delving into the concepts and philosophies of the mind. Jeff Daniels provides a stunning performance, which is understandable as I  see many connections between Daniels and the character he plays. Emma Stone also surprised me with the intensity of her performance. Having been used to seeing her in less serious films such as Superbad and Easy-A, it was a great surprise. This film was the directorial debut of Kieran and Michele Mulroney and hopefully they continue to create films as touching as this one.

Grade: B+

The main characters are flawed and grow emotionally as people - Oscar
The film touches on complex concepts - Oscar
High-billed actors - Oscar and Box Office
Original storyline - Oscar

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