This is a week for bizarre movies, but on the upside, at least it was the week for one good bizarre movie. Paper Town comes from the bestselling novelist John Green, who wrote the blockbusting novel “The Fault in Our Stars”.
The movie focuses on two central characters, Quentin and Margo. Quentin is the sweet boy next door, while Margo is the trouble maker with a trunk full of baggage. One night, she wakes Quinton up to take him on a night fueled by revenge. The night is life changing, but the next morning when Quinton goes to talk about it, Margo is gone. What follows is a bit of a teen Nancy Drew situation where Quinten recruits his friends to help find her.
First of all, the dialog is pretty excellent. Green seems to have a gift for writing dialog, and manages to make it quick witted, without making it come off as too adult. This was something they were easily able to carry into the movie. As a result, the kids actually come across as kids; albeit quick witted ones.
In a stretch, I’d say this movie reminds me a bit of the movies of the 80s, by the late great John Hughes. The movie follows the standard teen comedy tropes, with social hierarchies and a bit of angst. It’s a pretty well done effort that I enjoyed.
That being said, I didn’t feel like the target audience. I feel like I would have enjoyed this a bit more if I was actually in my teens. Something about the way this movie is written makes me feel kind of old. I didn’t think it was quite as good as the Fault in Our Stars, but I still found it watchable.
My big problem is Margo’s character. She was so paper thin and clichéd, it was hard to care what happened to her. She’s kind of your standard pretty, popular girl with a wild streak and despite her problems, she’s not very interesting. Of course, as the movie comes from Quinten’s perspective, it’s entirely possible that this was done intentionally to see Margo through Quintin’s eyes. If it was a stylistic choice, I can’t say I particularly enjoyed it.
It also kind of fell apart at the end. Instead of climaxing, we’re greeted to a long winded sermon about growing up. I find a lot of directors in teen movies do this. Instead of allowing people to glean the meaning from what they see, they feel the need to summarize their main point at the end in case anyone missed it.
Paper Town is a decent, but middle of the road effort when it comes to teen comedy. It’s not slapstick funny. It’s funnier in the way occasional parts of “The Fault in Our Stars” was funny. As far as coming of age movies go, this one is great for a teen audience, but adults might find it drags a little. Still, it’s worth the watch if you have a teenager in the house.
WE GAVE IT: 4 Stars – Watch the Official Trailer and Official Movie Poster below!