Wanderlust. It's the call of a trip or an adventure that just pulls you in. I love movies and books where the characters set out on a journey. A drive, a trip, a challenge. Whether it's searching for a mysterious love or the final goodbye between friends before heading to college, it's the adventure - not the destination - that makes me smile. The latest movie hitting theatres is based on a young adult book that combines both of those ideas together for a heartwarming coming-of-age flick: Paper Towns.
The Premise: Quentin (Nat Wolff) is an awkward boy going through his last few boring weeks of high school before graduating. He's kept a low key life thus far, that is until his neighbour and former childhood best-friend, Margo (Cara Delevinge), surprises him one night with a plan for an infamous Margo adventure. The former friends have a memorable night but soon Quentin is pulled into another mystery: Margo disappears. Quentin and his rag tag group of friends set out on a mission to solve the clues and find the elusive Margo Roth Spiegelman.
The Good: Paper Towns does well with giving depth and emotion to its group of cast and characters. Most times when a book is adapted to the big screen, the words and the feelings written into the novel aren't translated well to the final movie. The script did a great job with making each character their own, albeit a little cliche at times. I came to care about these characters and I felt the emotional backstory of why this trip was important to Quentin and his friends.
Four words can describe the next point best: Cara Delevigne is amazing! While her character didn't have a lot of screen time (she is missing after all), every second that she WAS on screen is perfect. Her character is captivating, she has effortless timing with witty dialogue, and she felt like a breath of fresh air in terms of character types. I understood Margo as a person yet felt completely out of the loop about who she was. Cara Delevigne did a great job and she's a good addition to an already great cast.
The Bad: Did the movie's plot seem small to anyone else? With exception to the beginning adventure and the resulting trip, I'm not sure if anything else really happened in Paper Towns. It could be from the book-to-movie adaptation process or just the plot itself, but Quentin and his friends didn't do much in their hunt for Margo. The stakes didn't feel real except for a looming prom deadline. Also, as I mentioned this before, there were a few points in the film where the dialogue did feel cheesy and cliche, especially when it came to the character of Ben (Austin Abrams). I get that this is a coming-of-age flick, but it didn't need to be too on the nose.
The Results: 3.75/5!
Paper Towns is exactly what a teen flick should be. It's fun, it's cute, the characters try to shake off their former personas to grow, and there's a mysterious character pulling them into a new adventure. I liked the film and as a book-to-movie adaptation, it did a good job. The dialogue was a tad cheesy and the plot did tread familiar territory with the typical "coming-of-age" tropes. Seriously, how many party, virginity, and finding lost love storylines can there be? There wasn't anything new added to the genre. Though, if you're a fan of the book and enjoy a story about friends heading out on an adventure, Paper Towns could be your type of flick.