The young ladies love Michael Cera. And they giggled along adoringly at SIFF for Charlyne Yi's half-documentary hybrid. The L.A. comedienne, glimpsed briefly in Knocked Up, pursues a twofold strategy in this semi-twee, semi-charming summer sleeper. First she road-trips around the country, interviewing real couples about how they met and what their love means to them. Second, back home with her comedy-club cohorts (including Seth Rogen), still being trailed by a film crew, she meets and falls for Michael Cera. Swoon! Ever since Arrested Development (and later Juno), who doesn't love that gangly, overgrown middle-schooler? He brings instant goodwill to the screen. But his lightly ironic, air-quoted sincerity is one reason Yi's film trips on its premises. She and Cera have been dating in real life. Here, their shy courtship is being not-so-subtly staged by Paper Heart's supposedly real documentary director (actually an actor). But all the road-trip interviewees appear to be real (and we'd feel mightily cheated if they weren't). And then—third level of artifice—Yi illustrates their love stories with cute little handmade paper-cutout sequences that, inescapably, feel like Michel Gondry's work. As a whole, Yi's movie doesn't hang together. But I think it'll do a brisk business among high-school and college girls on their summer vacations.
Yi and Cera flee from (semi-) reality.
Opens at Neptune and other theaters, Fri., Aug. 7. Rated PG-13. 89 minutes.