Title – Paper Towns (2015)
Director – Jake Schreier (Robot and Frank)
Cast – Nat Wolff, Cara Delevingne, Austin Abrams, Justice Smith, Halston Sage
Plot – Entering the final weeks of his life at school, Quentin (Wolff) and his BFF’s Ben (Abrams) and Radar (Smith) find themselves drawn into the mystery of Margo (Delevingne) after Quentin got to spend a memorable night with her before she seemingly vanished into thin air with nothing but a few clues strategically left behind for the trio to find.
“I could never stop thinking that maybe she loved mysteries so much that she became one”
Review by Eddie on 20/04/2016
To start with the good news. Paper Towns is a much more enjoyable romp and in many ways a more proficiently made movie than 2014’s first big screen John Green adaptation, the highly successful and unworthily praised The Fault in Our Stars. Just how much better Paper Towns is open to some interpretation, it’s not a whole lot better, but it’s enough to count as a small win for all.
Now onto the bad news.
Paper Towns just isn’t really as smart or as engaging as it thinks it is. Perhaps more successfully come to life in book form rather than big screen movie, Green’s tale of love, growing up and a mystery that makes very little sense in its solving is enjoyable to a level but the whole thing (at least in Jake Schreier movie) feels a little to self-assured for its own good and despite a winning non-formulaic finale the film doesn’t pack an emotional wallop like it so clearly feels as though its bringing.
Green also seems to suck people in with dialogue and scenarios that just feel unrealistic, Fault in Our Stars did it in spades and so does Paper Towns, so much so that many aspects of Nat Wolff’s Quinten and his quest to find Cara Delevingne’s Margo feel utterly fanciful.
Wolff and Delevingne (who can hopefully go on with her promise shown here in this year’s Suicide Squad) share an interesting chemistry and while their actual screen time together is limited the film’s opening half hour or so with them front and centre comes across in an engaging fashion but once Margo does a seemingly planned disappearing act, the films half boiled mystery and musings on growing up yada yada yada start to wear thin and by the time a fairly uninspired road trip happens, the brightness that shone in Paper Towns early quickly peters out into nothing but left over smoke.
Winning extra points for trying something different and remaining not entirely predictable, Paper Towns has moments of genuine wit, heart and intrigue but its half-cooked mystery, unrealistic dialogue and inability to say much of true merit mark it down as a teen romance/coming of age adventure that’s above average but also far below genre classics.
3 Pokémon theme songs out of 5