Release Date: July 24. 2015
Director: Jake Schreier
Writer: John Green (author), Scott Neustadter (screenplay), Michael H. Weber (screenplay)
Cast: Nat Wolff, Cara Delevingne, Austin Abrams, Justice Smith, Halston Sage, Jaz Sinclair, Cara Buono, Josiah Cerio, Hannah Alligood, Meg Crosbie, Griffin Freeman, Caitlin Carver, RJ Shearer, Susan Macke Miller, Tom Hillmann, Stevie Ray Dallimore, Jay Duplass
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 109 minutes
Production Company: Fox 2000 Pictures, Temple Hill Entertainment
Genre: Drama, Mystery, Romance
Depending on who you are, there can be a great number of things to appreciate about Paper Towns. It’s a fascinating movie about the power of friendship, adventure, and wonder. It’s about believing in yourself and taking that leap forward with no regrets. Everyone is familiar with this notion in some sense which makes the film that much more relatable. It’s funny, caring, and filled with love, that may force you to reminisce on all your past trials and challenges. It made me realize again what’s important in my own life and to only focus on that. So it’s moving in a way, but still not perfect. While the majority of the film can be praised most highly, some of the pacing towards the end knocks the wind out of you, and you’re gasping for air.
From the beginning, ‘Paper Towns’ took me back to my childhood. Expressing the same emotions most adolescent boys go through. It took its time to set up the scenes which put everything in perspective for the ride to come. That ride is an adventurous journey that pushes you to tear down your own barriers, and come out three times better on the other end.
Small windows of opportunity seldom present themselves, and when you don’t take advantage the feeling of regret haunts you. That’s the dilemma for main character Quentin (Nat Wolff). I wouldn’t call him crazy, but his obsessive passion is respected. He’s on a mission to find happiness with his two best friends Ben (Austin Abrams), and Radar (Justice Smith), and the wealth of the film is in their friendship. This isn’t a fairytale, they fight, and get along just like any other group of friends would. They’re honest with each other during the good times and the bad. Regardless of age in the real world, their performance as high school students was spot on, which made the film that much more enjoyable.
The adventure these gentleman partake on was a nice treat as well. Not knowing what’s around the corner, but storming full speed ahead was exciting. It did take a while to get to this point which did become a bit tiresome. The film almost feels like a two part series that was combined into one film. Part one being the first adventure with Margo (Cara Delevingne), and part two a countrywide search. In my opinion this was my biggest issue with the film. I’m pointing it out because everything else was spectacular. On many occasions an adventure would start between the characters. Excitement would rise, higher and higher each moment, only to be knocked back down by a poorly transitioned detour. Imagine you’re with a group of loved ones. You’re tired, beat up, and fatigued. Out of the blue someone finds the motivation to change the world, and the destination is only miles away. Someone in your party makes an epic speech, confidence is gained, and you’re off like a bat out of hell down the highway to happiness. Then out of nowhere the characters have to stop because someone left their wallet at the checkout counter at the last stop. It takes the momentum away from the moment. This scenario I explained didn’t happen exactly as I put it in the film, but it does relate to my emotions as they went up and down like a roller coaster as I watched this gang of guys on screen.
Fortunately that’s only one aspect of the film. Even from the start, the panning camera and slow motion shots puts you right in the moment of what that character is feeling. It reminds you of your old days as a child growing up through high school, which is like adding a cherry on top. Combine that with an upbeat soundtrack that bob’s your head, sending electricity down your spine, and you have a winner. Paper Towns has his monumental moments, some pacing issues towards the end, but was a surprise fun summer movie that will stand its time for this generations. It’s hilarious laugh out loud funny, with characters who are real, and bleed like you and me. You know a film is great when you want to call your friend from the past just to see if they’re ok. That what Paper Towns did for me.