Paper Towns is the new movie based on the John Green novel of the same name (who also wrote The Fault In Our Stars). It’s a teen road trip caper comedy drama… and it’s pretty good but not entirely engaging throughout.
Premise is that Q (our teen protagonist) is deeply in love with Margo Roth Spiegelman (played by Cara Delevinge’s eye brows) who is his personal Manic Pixie Dreamgirl. He has one crazy night with her, helping her take her revenge on her cheating boyfriend and her lying friends… and then she vanishes. Can Q follow the clues she left for him and find her in time for prom?
In case you don’t know, the Manic Pixie Dreamgirl trope basically is a female character that only exists in movies (and books and games) to be the catalyst for the male character to learn important life lessons. Think Natalie Portman in Garden State or Kirsten Dunst in Elizabethtown. Usually these characters have no agency or life of their own so the term is not one of endearment.
This movie is aware of that and is subversive in its treatment of Margo, Q, his friends, and their girlfriends. It’s this upending of conventions that is the secret heart of the movie so I won’t say more.
I’m afraid I wasn’t much into the movie otherwise. It’s fine, it’s well acted, and it’s occasionally pretty funny but I found it oddly lethargic otherwise. Perhaps that’s the story getting in the way of the movie… I don’t know. I just found myself slightly bored and waiting for the movie to get to the point.
Still a marginal recommendation, especially if still like a good teen coming-of-age flick.