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5-minute movie reviews: 'Paper Heart,' 'Bandslam,' 'The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard'

Published August 13, 2009 3:00 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2009, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

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Paper Heart

Opens Friday at the Broadway Centre Cinemas; rated PG-13 for some language; 88 minutes.

Imagine if "Borat" had been made by Miranda July, the whimsical beat-poet performance artist who gave us "Me and You and Everyone We Know." That's the feeling of Nicholas Jasenovec's touching semi-documentary, which follows L.A. comic Charlyne Yi (known forever as the stoner girl in "Knocked Up") as she travels the country asking people about the meaning of true love, while possibly experiencing some of her own as she's tenuously courted by Michael Cera (who was, at the time of filming, her real-life semi-boyfriend). With its juxtaposition of documentary technique and self-consciously oddball touches -- like the paper-cutout puppets that illustrate some stories -- it's Yi's plaintive curiosity and agnostic approach to romantic stereotypes that give "Paper Heart" its hopeful charm.

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Bandslam

Opens Friday at theaters everywhere; rated PG for some thematic elements and mild language; 111 minutes.

Landing about halfway between "High School Musical" and "School of Rock," this unassuming little charmer begins when rock-obsessed high-schooler Will Burton (Gaelan Connell) is transplanted to a New Jersey high school. There, the annual battle-of-the-bands contest is "Texas high-school football big," he learns from the aloof Sa5m ("the 5 is silent," she says), played by Vanessa Hudgens ("High School Musical's" Gabriella). Will is befriended by a senior, Charlotte Banks (played by Aly Michalka, another Disney Channel veteran), who enlists Will as manager of her kinda-punk band, while giving advice about wooing Sa5m. Actor-turned-director Todd Graff (who covered similar ground directing the 2003 Sundance hit "Camp"), co-writing with Josh A. Cagan, mines some spunky humor -- including Lisa Kudrow as Will's no-nonsense mom -- and heartfelt characters, all while coloring safely within the lines of the underdogs-reaching-the-top storyline. The soundtrack is fun pop, capped by a ska-light cover of Bread's "Everything I Own" that's actually pretty danceable.

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The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard

Opens Friday at theaters everywhere; rated R for sexual content, nudity, pervasive language and some drug material; 90 minutes.

This rapid-fire raunch comedy centers on a team of mercenary car salespeople, led by the hyper-confident Don "The Goods" Ready (played with quicksilver energy by Jeremy Piven), called in to rescue a near-bankrupt dealer, Ben Selleck (James Brolin), in Temecula, Calif. Plot complications abound for Don, from his attraction to Ben's engaged daughter Ivy ("My Boys' " Jordana Spiro) to the demons from a fateful gig in Albuquerque, as well as for his oversexed road crew (Ving Rhames, David Koechner and Kathryn Hahn). Like Don's sales technique, the movie -- directed by "Chappelle's Show" veteran Neal Brennan and backed by Will Ferrell's production company -- pushes its humor aggressively but closes the deal. You'll laugh hard as you watch, but may forget all of it once you drive off the lot.

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