Thursday, July 23, 2015

Paper Towns: Movie Review


A fun and enjoyable teen journey of comedy, adventure, mystery and coming-of-age.
A beautiful girl moves in next door to a geeky little kid, and the boy immediately falls for her. It's not hard to see why; she's beautiful with alluring eyes that can make good guys fall for bad girls. She's not the girl next door, but the mysterious girl next door, and he's going to watch her and admire her from not too far away. Paper Towns starts with the boy and girl at age 8 and she's baiting him into their first adventure. 2015

Directed by: Jake Schreier

Screenplay by: Scott Neustadter, Michael H. Weber
Based on the novel by John Green

Starring: Nat Wolff, Cara Delevingne

The casting, including Hannah Alligood as young Margo and model Cara Delevingne as 18-year-old Margo, accurately captured the allure of the mysterious and dangerous Margo Roth Spiegelman. They didn't have to say anything, but with just one look, you could tell that she would get Quentin (Nat Wolff) into trouble. Quentin is your typical leading male in these types of movies. He's smart, awkward and not popular, but still endearing.

Nat Wolff stars as Quentin in the coming-of-age
story PAPER TOWNS, adapted from the bestselling
novel by author John Green ("The Fault in
Our Stars"). Photo credit: Michael Tackett.
TM & © 2014 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation.
All Rights Reserved. Not for sale or duplication.
What makes this movie slightly better than others which have come before it, is that it's fun. There's a comedic undercurrent to the whole beginning while we're getting introduced to the characters. Quentin and his camaraderie with his two best friends Ben (Austin Abrams) and Radar (Justice Smith) is hilarious, especially Ben and his discussion of and interaction with girls.

And now Margo, who since their childhood has become popular and cool and left Quentin behind, is crawling back through his bedroom window and baiting him into another adventure which is sure to get them into trouble. Margo has some plans up her sleeve, with varying degrees of legality, and Quentin doesn't know how to say no to her.

The next part, let's call it the adventure part 1, is still funny, is definitely fun, and provides the basis for Quentin's character development. Their night of adventure keeps the film moving and keeps the audience interested.

The next part, let's call it the mystery, starts with Margo missing. Either missing or hiding. Quentin believes it's up to him to find her. After all, he's in love with her. Simple teen romances or dramas are always improved if a mystery element is introduced. Give the audience something to solve, something to ponder or figure out along with the main characters. This mystery unfortunately slowed the film down as they spent too long with Quentin looking for, and thinking about, various clues that Margo may or may not have left for him. There's still an air of intrigue, but patience can be tested since not much else is happening.

But then we're on to adventure part 2, where 5 main characters are united and we're treated to a solid teen comedy. These 5 characters are all typical high school students (if not actual real, at least film real), and they all belong in the real world, one which the audience lives in and understands. Everybody but Margo; she's a more cinematic character and doesn't belong in the real world but a paper town.

Eventually, the film evolves into a fairly meaningful coming-of-age story, and it's particularly nice that they gave us some comedy, mystery and adventure along the way. It's also very teen-appropriate which is not just fitting for its target audience but a welcome reprieve from a summer full of crass comedies. Paper Towns is a fun and enjoyable teen journey.

Similar Titles:

The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012) - Uplifting teenage drama with humour, heart and soul.

If I Stay (2014) - Come for the tears, stay for the romance.

The Spectacular Now (2013) - Floats around life with two good performances.

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl (2015) - Trades away sentimentality for quirky humour but doesn't go far enough.