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With Jim Sabatini

Paper Man

Paper Man
Jeff Daniels, Emma Stone, Ryan Reynolds, Lisa Kudrow, Hunter Parrish, Kieran Culkin

Rated: R language and a scene of sexuality
Reviewed by: Jim  
Release date: April 23, 2010 Released by: MPI Media

This low-key, offbeat low-budgeter may work best for those lovers of Montauk, Long Island, especially during wintertime.

Paper Man features Jeff Daniels, Ryan Reynolds, Lisa Kudrow, and Emma Stone, and tries hard to enlist viewer interest from the tenuous relationship of Daniels's not grown-up yet middle-aged failed writer Richard and Stone's problematic 17-year-old Abby stemming from a family crisis.

Dermot Mulroney's helming brother and sister-in-law, Kieran and Michele, fashion some comedic potential from Richard's longtime imaginary superhero confidante in Reynolds's blonde-pated Captain Excellent.

In Montauk is where Richard is remanded by surgical wife, a disapproving, unsupple Kudrow, to get over a case of writer's block. There he retains a "baby sitter" in Abby who has no little one to watch and is in a lopsided relationship with her boyfriend. It's up to a caring Christopher (Kieran Culkin) to preach the importance of liking yourself to her.

The filmmakers try to amuse and later affect with a darker touch as Richard and Abby come to recognize one another - with her homemade soup and his writing attempts and Origami. But, the loopiness, especially from a professional like Daniels never really gets into gear as he's probably a little constipated from material which needed more of a refined, tonal consistency. Reynolds is underwhelmed by a part which initially is cute primarily from a physical standpoint.

Maybe, the blue-eyed bangy Stone (assertively good in the raunchy Superbad) fares the best with an incendiary character struggling to find her identity and groove in a milieu which to her mood often matches the weather conditions. Yet, the title in part is rather accurate in the handling of a premise than something droll and inspirational fazed by its eccentricities.

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