“You will go to the paper towns and you will never come back?” Q tried to recite Margo’s clue.
With The Fault in Our Stars’ stellar reception (in box office and, somehow, to the critics), second adaptation of John Green’s young adult novels is definitely around the corner. And by sooner or later, perhaps people will label him as the new Nicholas Sparks (with younger audience)—if you know what I mean.
Paper Towns is Green’s fourth novel and, yeah, another best-selling. It takes advantages of its completely different take from its previously adapted tear-jerking predecessor.
Referring to a phrase for fictional town made by cartographer to protect the map, Paper Towns is a more vigorous coming-of-age story of being lost and found. Its unique two-episode plot-line is quite intriguing although is, something, weighed down by unbalanced narrative and inconsistent pace.
The first half of the movie is a more traditional young adult romance. It revolves around Quentin Jacobsen a.k.a Q (Nat Wolff) who gets infatuated with his childhood friend, now a mysterious popular Margo Roth Spiegelman (Cara Delevingne). It’s a typical nerd gets obsessed to a popular girl, then someday gets a one-in-a-million chance to spend a night with the girl.
The second half is a completely different act from the first. Ignited with a twist, Margo disappear; then it becomes a raw mix of whodunit and a road film—which blend pretty well, but could’ve been better—in leading Q and friend to head to the paper town to find Margo.
Pace becomes a usual suspect in Paper Towns. Kicking off the second half, the pace becomes inconsistent: some moments are prolonged, but some other gets shortened.
Although it’s efficient to make the movie compact, yet, it neglects some moments that should have been the monuments,especially during the road trip acts and culminating during the climax.
Please note, Paper Towns is a kind of movie with a climax stuffed at the end. So, can you imagine if the climax isn’t climactic? An unprecedented anti-climax.
One positive note, it’s surprisingly well-acted. Led by Nat Wolff’s sympathetic performance, which paints his side-kick persona black, the casts are wonderful. Delevingne seals her Margo-esque performance just perfect against the odds.
Meanwhile, among the supporting casts, perhaps Austin Abrams steals the most screen with his newly-found comic persona.
In the end, Paper Towns is a quite enjoyable YA drama with more optimism than any other YA adaptation I ever known. It’s well-acted and the story is inventive, had the story-telling found balance, it could’ve been a more memorable one.
Paper Towns (2015)
Drama, Mystery, Romance, Adaptation Directed by: Jack Schreier Written by: Scott Neustadster, Michael H. Weber based on novel by John Green Starred by: Nat Wolff, Cara Delevigne, Austin Abrams, Halston Sage Running Time: 109 mins Rated PG-13 for some language, drinking, sexuality and partial nudity – all involving teens