They’re soon joined by a few other classmates on a road trip, though the twists and turns of the journey are less important to “Paper Towns” than the camaraderie of the teens on the journey, which, alas, comes off as forced, stilted and charm-starved.
The film “Paper Towns” has gotten mixed reviews from both fans and critics following its release in the United States.
Wolff, who played a supporting role in The Fault in Our Stars, has an appealing everyteen quality, but Quentin is such a blank slate that it’s hard to care about his emotional arc. Paper Towns is one more example of his fabulous story telling. Not only does the audience understand why everybody falls for Margo, even though she’s frustratingly flighty, but Delevingne has such an unmistakable magnetism, you miss the supermodel newcomer when she’s not around for half the movie.
The two drifted apart, though, and now, on the brink of graduation, Margo is the It Girl of their high school, while Quentin and his friends (Justice Smith and Austin Abrams, in the film’s best performance) find their safe space in the band room.
It’s based on the John Green YA best-seller (why don’t teens illegally download books?) about risk-averse high school student Q (Nat Wolff) who spends one mad night with his charismatic and free-spirited neighbor, Margo (Cara Delevingne), as she enacts her senior-year bucket list of revenge.
But the next day, she disappears. But John Green (“The Fault in Our Stars“) is not about delivering warm and happy.
The enigmatic Margo enlists a reluctant but smitten Quentin in a night of mildly naughty pranks incited by her cheating boyfriend (Griffin Freeman).
If you are a teenager, you should run out to see this film. According to director Jake Schreier, that’s where the magic is. Despite her ideal match with Margo, the 23-year-old said she also connected with other characters. If this movie teaches you one thing, it’s that if we watch from the sidelines and just blend in we become the paper town, with paper people such as ourselves.
And that’s part of the movie’s overall problem. In fact, Delevingne’s so serious about acting that she’s had to sacrifice some unpredictability in her day-to-day life, something she’d rather not do but which she has to.
By the end, almost all the story’s questions, mysteries and dilemmas have been neatly answered and tied up, with just a dash of melancholy and a hint of maturity added to the mix as life moves on, albeit with more than a bit of fantasy where Ben and Lacey are concerned.
“Paper Towns” is particularly good at pinpointing that certain point in teenage male friendships where the guys are getting older, but they still sometimes resort to silly voices and goofy humor when the girls aren’t around.