Struggling with writer’s block, failed middle-aged novelist Richard Dunn (Daniels) is urged by his wife (Kudrow) to move out to the Long Island beach comunity to concentrate. Aside from his lifelong imaginary friend Captain Excellent (Reynolds), Richard is as lonely and lost as ever, until he forms an unlikely friendship with a young girl (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 rarely lives up to it. Despite offering a handful of touching moments, their quirky indie effort feels a bit messy and never really finds it’s rhythm.
The cast are excellent mind you, especially both the ever-reliable Jeff Daniels and current it-girl Emma Stone. They both play variations of previous roles (him the sympathetic man-child, her the knowing teen), but not in a bad way. Lisa Kudrow also impresses going out of her comfort zone as Richard’s cold, grown-up wife, whilst Ryan Reynolds steals the show as his made-up buddy despite getting 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 tht about wanting to do something with his hands?), the writer on screen isn’t the only one unsure where to go.
There’s a good movie in here somewhere, but Paper Man doesn’t find it.