Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

REVIEW ; `Towns' a Middle-of-the-Road Teen Drama

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

REVIEW ; `Towns' a Middle-of-the-Road Teen Drama

Article excerpt

LOS ANGELES - Based on an earlier teen fave novel by "The Fault in Our Stars author John Green, "Paper Towns is a mild coming-of- ager about dawning awareness and life lessons learned among a small group of Florida high school seniors. Part mystery story, part road movie and part pre-prom graduation romp, the film is most interesting as a perspective on adolescence in which all the girls are more mature, nervy and perceptive than any of the boys, who have some catching up to do if they're to have a chance with any of them. Adapted by "Stars screenwriters Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber from the winner of an Edgar Award for best young adult mystery novel of 2008, "Paper Towns hinges on the lifelong fascination the smart, semi-dweeby Quentin (Nat Wolff, who played the lead's best friend in "Stars) nurses for his across-the-street neighbor Margo (Cara Delevingne). Best friends and partner in crime as young kids, they've grown apart since Margo became hot and popular, so it comes as a jolting surprise to Q, as he's known, when Margo shows up in his bedroom late one night shortly before the end of the school year and dares him to take her out in his parents' car. She won't specify the reasons but break down his wimpy resistance merely by saying, "Basically, this is going to be the best night of your life.

Margo's agenda is to extract revenge on her cheating boyfriend, which she does, with some reluctant help from Q, in prankishly creative ways. After Margo has visited sufficient humiliation and discomfort on her ex, she and Q end up in a high-rise looking down on Orlando at night, which puts her in a philosophical mood: it's "a paper town with paper people, she observes.

And then she disappears. Completely. She doesn't show up at school for days, she's left home. No one knows what to think. While Q and his borderline-nerdy buds Ben (Austin Abrams) and Radar (Justice Smith) count the days until graduation and mull over prom plans - the particularly obnoxious Ben fantasizes about taking blond bombshell Lacey (Halston Sage), who's just split with her boyfriend, while Radar plans to lose his virginity that night to his girlfriend, Angela (Jaz Sinclair) - Q fixates on the idea that Margo has left hidden clues about her whereabouts that he begins piecing together and sharing with his patient but skeptical friends. …

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