Glenn doesn't have any friends yet.
Paper Towns (2015)IT'S A BAD, BAD, BAD, BAD GIRL - My Review of PAPER TOWNS (3 Stars)… More IT'S A BAD, BAD, BAD, BAD GIRL - My Review of PAPER TOWNS (3 Stars) If it's at all possible to go into a movie with less than zero expectations, my experience with PAPER TOWNS, the new film from the author and screenwriters of THE FAULT IN OUR STARS, started out as rocky as the relationship of its central protagonists. I didn't emotionally buy into the sub-LOVE STORY machinations of FAULT and was especially put off by our dying couples' makeup scene in the Anne Frank house. I enjoyed 500 DAYS OF SUMMER, but I feared that writers Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber had gotten into bed with the wrong author, John Green, who seems to traffic in the trials and tribulations of overly-financed, somewhat bland, suburban teens. So in I went, with every fiber of my being telling me to jump ship and see an edgier teen film like DOPE. I'm happy to admit I was glad I stayed, because PAPER TOWNS, while not great and certainly not on a par with THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER, ultimately won me over. Starting off on shaky ground with overly serious voiceover and an air of "the summer when everything changed for me", we meet our teen hero, Quentin (Nat Wolff), who has fallen in love with his mysterious neighbor Margo (Carla Delevingne). His is a case of blind love, as he knows so very little about her, yet will seemingly do anything for her. One fateful night, he assists her on an epic quest for revenge against anyone who helped her cheating boyfriend. This being an upper crust world we're in, the teens eschew guns and ammo for spray paint, Nair, prank calls, and anything else in the toilet paper stunt family. What director Jake Schreier (ROBOT AND FRANK) does well in these early scenes is establish a woozy, dreamy mythology surrounding Margo. She enters windows like a distaff Spider-Man and has the gruff, raspy voice of a sultry screen siren like Kathleen Turner. Delevingne has a distinct look with her bushy eyebrows and hint of danger lurking in there somewhere, and it's enough to get Quentin's and our attention. I wouldn't call it a great performance, but it's just right considering where all of this heads. Anyone who has seen the trailer knows that Margo disappears and the rest of the movie features Quentin and his gaggle of friends on a clue-laden hunt to locate her. Seeing this as his destiny to find and be with his one true love, Quentin makes for a touching, deluded main character. He's helped immeasurably by the company he keeps, a quartet of quirky friends, well-played by Austin Abrams, Justice Smith, Halston Sage, and Jaz Sinclair. I especially loved the racial diversity here which felt organic and not at all tacked on. I believed the casual interplay between the group and found myself rooting for them as they set off on a long trip from Florida to upstate New York in search of their missing friend. The structure of the film is extremely simple with the first half consisting of Margo and Quentin's adventures and the second half being the search. The hunt plays out like a cross between IT'S A MAD, MAD, MAD, MAD WORLD and an episode of SCOOBY DOO, emitting an air of graceful innocence. What this gang is searching for and why drives the subtext, allowing for an 11th hour surprise followed by an epiphany which did manage to awaken my tear ducts. All of the death and loaded speeches of FAULT couldn't manage to evoke such a response from me, whereas here, a realization and a sweet glance from Wolff was all it took. The performances here, to be honest, feel naturalistic yet somehow undercooked. An overuse of voiceover and slow motion to indicate grand importance don't help the situation. There's a bland, flatlining to the tone here which works against the film at times, yet its themes and premise ultimately prevailed. Here's a story about opening your eyes to what's truly important and meaningful in your life. Margo is not and cannot be the ideal Quentin makes her out to be, yet the film is smart enough not to make her a villain either. She's just the perfect mess an over-mythologizing teenage boy will cling to until he reaches the "what was I thinking" period of his life. Sure, it all plays like first world problems, and the easy access our teens have to a car, gas, and money defies credibility, but one could do worse than see a film where things such as appreciation, kindness, and honesty win out.
27 days ago via Rotten Tomatoes