Director Jake Schreier delivers more high-school sweethearts with a twist in the next nostalgia-teen movie, Paper Towns. After the floods of tears that The Fault In Our Stars brought on, fans are flocking in their thousands to bear witness to another John Green adaptation, reinvigorating a taste for profound remarks and angst.
Childhood friends, Quentin (Nat Wolff) and Margo (Cara Delevingne), struggle to keep their friendship alive when a suicide pulls Margo towards the mystery and allure of a world unexplored. As they fall in with different crowds and live different lives, chances of Quentin’s fairy-tale relationship become slimmer by the day. So it comes as a surprise to Quentin when Margo mysteriously disappears, only leaving him the clues necessary to find her. Caught between the high-school rock and a hard place, he rallies an unexpected entourage to set out and find her on what will be a road trip he won’t soon forget.
What you see is what you get with any John Green book. Immediately building up for an ending that you crave and may never get, Paper Towns is a coming of age story that somehow manages to find a perfect balance between hopeful optimism and anti-climax.
Despite the refreshing and welcome change from the ‘getting what you want’ ending, the youthful drama becomes a proverbial mix-tape of uncertainty, overplaying the ‘not caring about prom, but caring about prom’ hand. It’s needlessly melodramatic and displays a painfully overbearing zealous attitude to living life to the full. This may be all well and good for any movie, but the reflective narration was possibly a step too far.
Like all successful high-school dramas, it is the characters who bring this latest adaptation off the page. With a comical edge to the remaining entourage, particularly Ben (Austin Abrams) and Radar (Justice Smith) who added another set of quirky and like-able characteristics to the mix, the movie’s charm is the chemistry between the fun-loving bunch as they drive along America’s highways.
The Jake and John duo undoubtedly pulled another one out of the bag when it came to tugging on people’s heart strings. Paper Towns somehow captured the essence of youth along the way and it made for excitable viewing. Some of us grown-up types may be sceptical, but it seemed to play to its audience with finesse.