Paper Man

Rated 2.0

Both lifeless and affected, Kieran and Michele Mulroney’s Paper Man is like a tour through some dismal sideshow gallery of overused indie tropes. Jeff Daniels plays Richard Dunn, a directionless writer struggling to start his second novel and save his failing marriage, all while clinging to his childhood imaginary friend (Ryan Reynolds, mugging in a superhero suit). While his successful wife (Lisa Kudrow) leaves him at home to go work in the city, Richard meets another lost soul played by Emma Stone, and their unusual friendship inspires Richard to re-examine his meaningless life. Daniels and Stone give more of themselves to their roles than the cutesy direction and underdeveloped script deserve, but it’s not enough to save a film that is equal parts sitcom farce and pretentious psychobabble—the “imaginary friend” component is particularly weak.