MOVIE REVIEW: “Paper Towns” stars Nat Wolff (The Naked Brothers Band [TV series], Stuck in Love), Cara Delevingne (Pan, Anna Karenina), Austin Abrams (The Kings of Summer, Gangster Squad), Justice Smith (The Get Down [TV series], Trigger Finger), Halston Sage (Goosebumps , Neighbors), and Jaz Sinclair (Rizzoli & Isles [TV series], When the Bough Breaks). It is based on a book by John Green (The Fault in our Stars, Crash Course: World History [TV series]), where the screenplay is written by Scott Neustadter ( Days of Summer, The Spectacular Now) and Michael H. Weber (The Pink Panther 2, Friends with Benefits [TV series]), and is directed by Jake Schreier (Robot & Frank, Christopher Ford Sees a Film [Short]). Quentin (Wolff) has been in love with the girl across his street, Margo (Delevingne), since she first moved in when he was a little kid. They became friends, but as years have passed, they have grown further apart. Now, a senior in high school, Quentin thinks that he will never be able to hang out with her again. That is, until she shows up to his house out of the blue one night asking him to run errands with her. From that night on, Quentin’s life gets interesting as him and his friends do many things they have never done before.
I can’t tell you how much I wanted to dislike this movie. From the moment I heard of it being made, I thought “John Green…well, I guess it’s another mushy, ‘heart wrenching’ story for teens (girls especially) to eat up.” I have nothing against the guy, but a lot of these books for teens (that aren’t sci-fi) feel like they are cut from the same fabric. You have the main character who supposedly narrates the whole thing, a couple of friends who provide some sort of comic relief, a bloated picture of high school, and a greeting card lesson that will surely bring tears to some eyes anyway. I may be generalizing, because there are books out there that aren’t like this, but I’ve seen enough trailers for films based on books that boast the same feeling. I wanted to trash this movie, rip it to shreds because of how much it will be like other teen romance stuff before it, but yet I couldn’t. No matter how much I wanted to at first, I couldn’t do it. That is because this is not a bad film, not at all. It was actually different from what I thought it was going to be. The story combines elements of mystery, comedy, and an underlying theme that works most of the time. I enjoyed watching this and that probably has to do with my age. Like I said before, this comes from a book for teens, so if you aren’t in that demographic there probably isn’t much to take from. Sure, for those of you that are past this moment, you could remember how you may have felt the same, but this movie was definitely not geared towards those who want to recollect their times of high school. I’m a movie buff, I like to watch things that are actually well-written, given a lot of thought, have deep themes, and have brilliant performances. Those are the pictures I crave, but yet at times I’m a sap for movies like this. Ones that one may roll their eyes at if they are old enough (which I probably will in the future). The theme in this is something I like to watch, that being how you have to live life in the moment rather than go along with a daily routine and wish you did something differently. Although I admit to being the one who observes, I still like the whole idea of it all. There was a vibe that this movie displayed that I actually liked, and that probably went to the directing. It gave a sort of Indie essence with the way everything was compiled together. Not on a Wes Anderson scale, or a knock-off, but more of a watered-down version that I can still take from. The characters in this can be bland at times, but they can also be relatable in others. The performances were good, basically what I expected them to be like. I didn’t expect, however, that this would be funny. No, it’s not laugh-out-loud all of the time, but there are some scenes that I did chuckle at, mainly with the character of Ben Starling (Abrams) . He was the comic relief and he did a good job. Something I give props to this film for is how almost everyone (and I said almost) in the high school scenes look the age for them. Too many movies that are shown in high school have students that look like they graduated five or ten years ago, which I find to be distracting. Thankfully, there weren’t many cases like this. The adventure of this whole story was entertaining and enjoyable. I had a good time watching this, and at times it was a mystery. I liked how the characters were trying to find Margo and followed her clues to figure out her location. Mystery is a genre I love to take upon. There were predictable moments however, especially the ending (I figured it out with about thirty minutes left of story), but it held up as a whole. It was just a fun, little movie that surprised me at how much I would like it. Besides the things I mentioned before, other cons would be how there are plot holes. One of them is how the parents weren’t involved in anything. When they skipped school, when Quentin snuck out of his house, and when they went on a road trip all the way up the east coast, their parents didn’t show any concern. There was only one scene where Quentin was talking on the phone with his mom, but it was so small of a scene that I didn’t take anything from it. I don’t know what parents would not care if their children went missing for two days, especially when one of their kids takes their car. In the end, this was a pretty good movie that I liked watching. I wouldn’t recommend this to adults because I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t take much from it, but teens would. FINAL SCORE: 80%= Juicy Popcorn
Here is the trailer: