Paper Man

Paper Man

**1/2

Reviewed by: Stephen Carty

Struggling with writer's block, failed middle-aged novelist Richard Dunn (Jeff Daniels) is urged by his wife (Lisa Kudrow) to move out to the Long Island beach comunity to concentrate. Aside from his lifelong imaginary friend Captain Excellent (Ryan Reynolds), Richard is as lonely and lost as ever, until he forms an unlikely friendship with a young girl (Emma Stone).

Somewhere in Paper Man, there's a good movie. Possibly even, dare it be said, a great one. The central premise is genius (a grown man who's never managed to leave behind his imaginary superhero friend who offers advice), but frustratingly, Kieran and Michele Mulroney's offbeat drama doesn't live up to it. Despite offering a handful of touching moments, their quirky indie effort feels a bit messy and never properly finds it's rhythm.

Copy picture

The cast are excellent mind you, especially both the ever-reliable Jeff Daniels and 'it-girl' Emma Stone. They both play variations of previous roles (Daniels as the sympathetic man-child, Stone as the knowing teen), but not in a bad way. Lisa Kudrow has the toughest role as Richard's cold, grown-up wife, while Ryan Reynolds steals the show as his made-up buddy, despite the fact that he gets far too little screen time.

As a drama-comedy, aside from Reynolds' primary-colour wearing hero, it's not particularly funny - well, there is a good gag about fluke - but that's not the problem. With a fuzzy focus and too many loose ends (what was all that about wanting to do something with his hands?), the writer on screen isn't the only one unsure where to go.

Reviewed on: 18 Aug 2011
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