Sundance Shocker: Michael Cera’s Paper Heart Takes a Schoolyard Beating

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A still from Push. Photo: Courtesy Paper Heart Productions

Almost everyone is agreeing that this year's Sundance was one of the best in recent memory, and many of the filmmakers would be well justified in giving themselves pats on the back. But it appears that at least one film will be leaving Sundance with its pedigree significantly tarnished. And it's breaking our hearts, because we were convinced this was going to be the best thing ever. Alas, the the Michael Cera–Charlyne Yi faux-documentary-love-story-but-actually-kind-of-not, Paper Heart, did not turn out to be the greatest movie ever made. Indeed, the film — which features Yi interviewing various kooky subjects about the nature of love while falling for Cera, with various anecdotes crudely enacted by handmade puppets — spawned an ongoing parlor game among critics trying to one-up each other in finding new descriptors utilizing the word “twee.” We overheard one wag at our screening whisper the words “When Twee Attacks” as he was leaving. David Fear of Time Out wrote that the film tests “your tolerance for tweeness … beyond the limits set by the Geneva Convention.” Another anonymous critic friend said it put the “twee” back in “Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum.” That was kind of harsh, but not harsh enough for his friend, who called it “a holocaust of twee.” After that it just got too painful, so we covered our ears, started singing nursery rhymes, and sped away on our Big Wheel.