Richard (Jeff Daniels) has published his first novel to great critical acclaim and is now stuck with writing his second. Therefore, he and his wife Claire decide that he should go to a summer home (in winter) to maybe find the necessary peace and quiet there. Even though Claire stays in the city, Richard is not alone: he is accompanied by his imaginary friend since childhood, Captain Excellent (Ryan Reynolds). But it seems that just a change of scenery is not enough to help Richard. It’s only when he meets local teenager Abby (Emma Stone) that things really start to change – for both of them.
I absolutely loved Paper Man. I loved it way more than I thought I would. It’s funny, it’s touching, it’s well-acted and all-around awesome.
The film has whimsy and quirky written all over it. More often than not, this really works against a film. But Paper Man manages never to cross the line into completely ridiculous (though I have to admit that the soup-cooking almost went there).
Most of this is due to the wonderful cast. Emma Stone and Jeff Daniels play their characters with a wonderful sensitivity and show them as the wounded animals they are. Ryan Reynolds impressed me with yet another facet of his acting talent and is actually brilliantly funny. [After this and Buried, I really have to revise my opinion of his acting abilities.]
The Mulroneys did not convince me as script writers. Their plotting isn’t bad but their dialogues are often rather artificial and try way too hard (the same thing Juno suffered from, though here they are funnier). I think that they worked at all is due to their actors. But as directors, they succeeded especially in managing their actors.
I thought that the whimsy would overwhelm the film, but fortunately it did not and so Paper Man stays enjoyable to the last. And its plot achieved what Devil could not: to actually surprise me.
Summarising: Watch it. I mean how could you not love this scene? (It’s the pile of leaves that makes it genius.)