Ryan Reynolds brought a certain wounded goofiness to his performance in Green Lantern. He was vaguely snarky as Deadpool in Wolverine. But you've never really seen him go all the way over-the-top with the superhero thing — unless you've rented the otherwise forgettable indie movie Paper Man.
Here, Reynolds is actually trying to be kind of campy and ridiculous, playing the imaginary superhero friend of a grown man. Sort of like the teddy bear in Ted, only imaginary and a superhero. In the clip above, Reynolds "does the voice," reciting his own intro in a suitably bombastic, echo-drenched tone. It's probably just as well he didn't try to do the Green Lantern oath in that voice.
Paper Man hit theaters in 2010, and now all the most ridiculous scenes involving Reynolds' character are online. The other reason to check out this movie might be the presence of a pre-Zombieland Emma Stone as the movie's main supporting character, but her storyline is pretty awful, to be honest.
Here's what we wrote about Reynolds' superhero turn in our review, a couple years ago:
But what about the Ryan Reynolds superhero thing, I hear you asking? Sure. It's the most interesting part of the film, although it's not actually good. Reynolds plays Captain Excellent, who's been Richard Dunn's imaginary friend since Richard was a little kid. He never quite let go of his imaginary friend, who gives him advice that he ignores, and motivates him to be awesome by reciting a cheesy cartoon intro about how Captain Excellent will save the day.
Because Captain Excellent is intentionally campy, and Reynolds does have fun being the silliest version of a superhero he can possibly manage. There are a handful of scenes in which Reynolds gets to induldge his flair for physical comedy, and the movie sputters to life. He gets to be snarky occasionally. But the campiness gets a bit much after a while, and any awesomeness Reynolds might possess gets lost because he's saddled with Daniels' loser character. Still, it might be worth renting this film if you see it in the dollar rental shelf, just so you can fast forward to the two or three great bits Reynolds has where he's being Hobbes to Richard's Calvin.
And the film pulls a weird twist with Captain Excellent towards the end, which I won't spoil here but which pushes the "imaginary friend" thing a bit closer to the realm of real fantasy or science fiction. And the moment where we find out the truth about Captain Excellent is also the only moment in the film where Reynolds gets to do some real acting, and he is amazing.