Paper Towns **1/2
While wallowing in disappointment at how predictable, slow and boring “Paper Towns” had turned out to be, a group of teen girls three rows behind me cheered and applauded when the two lovelorn teen stars finally shared an on-screen kiss.
OK, so maybe I’m not the target demo for this film, but I generally enjoy coming-of-age movies, and always have. From “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” to “Sixteen Candles,” “The Breakfast Club” and even modern teen romances, well-written movies of the genre can be universally appealing to all ages and genders.
“Paper Towns,” based on John Green’s third young adult novel of the same name, is not.
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The novel and film both follow the exploits of a high school senior named Margo Roth Spiegelman, played by the mostly uninteresting and cold-as-ice Cara Delevingne.
Spiegelman’s childhood friend, Quentin “Q” Jacobsen, has been pining for her affections since they were both 10 years old. When Spiegelman enlists Jacobson in a series of revenge pranks, and then disappears, “Paper Towns,” becomes a road flick as the freshly love-struck Jacobsen and his pals set out in search of the girl just before prom and the end of their school days together.
The film’s saving grace are Jacobsen’s two best friends, played by Austin Abrams and Justice Smith, both relative newcomers to the big screen.
“Paper Towns,” is not a bad movie, it’s just paper thin.
What do those stars mean?
* Really, really, really bad. Don’t bother.
** Pretty bad, with one or more redeeming scenes.
*** Pretty good, but maybe not great, worth seeing for most
**** Really great, a winning combination of story, casting, and directing
***** The rarest gem, an all-around perfect motion picture