Paper Towns Review Roundup: What Did Critics Think About the Cara Delevingne …

24 Jul 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Cara Delevingne: My acting career isn’t a fluke.

These mark the most prominent onscreen roles for Delevingne, who is better known for her modeling work and often funny poses, and for Wolff. The film adaptation of the book of the same name written by John Green boasts a screenplay by Scott Neustadter and Michael Weber, the writing tandem responsible for the widely popular hit “500 Days of Summer.” The plot of “Paper Towns” is simple: A smart but scrawny teen named Quentin (Nat Wolff) harbors a lifelong crush for his next-door neighbor, Margo (Cara Delevingne).The filmmakers knew going in that it might be judged simply in comparison to last year’s “The Fault in Our Stars,” since both films are based on novels by YA author John Green.Cara Delevingne, 22, landed a number of high-profile roles including “Suicide Squad” in which she plays Enchantress and the leading part in the big screen adaptation of John Green’s “Paper Towns” and she believed she got the roles because of her talent.

The actress had previously appeared in films such as The Face of an Angel and Anna Karenina and also stars in the upcoming supervillain film Suicide Squad. One night, Margo sneaks in through his window (a thing she regularly did before she became the coolest kid in school) and gets Quentin to drive her around town in a mission to exact revenge on her cheating ex-boyfriend.

It could have fallen victim to all the limitations of the multiple genres it attempts to blend: The movie is part coming-of-age story, part road-trip comedy, part love story. Quentin has forever pined for neighbour Margo (Cara Delevingne), but she is extraordinary: dangerous, weird, always having adventures, yet somehow in with the in crowd.

The story follows Quentin Jacobson (Nat Wolff), who spends the entire film trying to track down Margo Roth Spiegelman (Cara Delevingne), his elusive crush, who disappears after the two spend a mischievous night pranking their high school classmates. Nine years after their childhood friendship drifted apart, Margo climbs through Quentin’s window and convinces him to join her on a night of revenge against her cheating boyfriend and her friends who knew about it. Instead, “Paper Towns” smoothly navigates what could have been treacherous waters, emerging as its own film, one that treats teenagers as people and their problems as simply human. And the studio behind Green obviously has confidence in his stories: the writer recently got a first-look deal with Fox 2000, which is part of 20th Century Fox. Quentin then sets out to look for her after finding a series of clues that she has left behind, embarking on a road trip with his best friends in tow.

Quentin (Nat Wolff, who played the blind cancer survivor longing for robot eyes in “TFiOS”) has been neighbors with Margo (British model Cara Delevingne in her first major role) since childhood. And I loved these guys together.” “This is Delevingne’s first large role and the model (and Suicide Squad member) plays Margo as if she were Orange Is the New Black’s Pennsatucky (Taryn Manning) but given 10 suburban-steps ahead in life,” he writes. “That is to say, as an actress, Delevingne mostly communicates with eyebrows, hair pushes, and a knowing overbite.” “Delevingne’s performance is strong enough to make it all seem fresher than it really is,” he writes. “Even when she has to utter insipid lines such as, ‘I’m just a paper girl in a paper town’ (that’s just a sample). Weber and Scott Neustadter, the screenwriting team behind Fault, adapted Paper Towns and will also adapt the upcoming film version of Green’s first novel Looking For Alaska. One of their adventures brought them face to face with the corpse of a man who committed suicide, a formative experience which the careful Quentin pegs as the moment he and the risk-taking Margo achieved some deep, unbreakable bond. Green was a force of nature in the young adult book world before “Fault” hit the screen – young adult bestseller lists are still dominated by his work and he hasn’t released a book since “Fault” in 2012.

Green, who served as executive producer of the film, has long-since endorsed the changes, acknowledging them in a video on YouTube. “Yes, the Paper Towns movie is like the book but also, you know, it isn’t.” Green said in April. “What I really want from an adaptation is to feel the feelings I felt while reading the book, right? Just a simple, fun, and straightforward tale that takes you back to those few days before high school graduation, when you begin to lose your grip on the now as the thought of the future finally starts to creep in. Much of its charm is owed to the supporting cast, including Austin Abrams and Justice Smith as the nerds and Halston Sage as the improbable dream girl.

That’s like showing up to a Cleveland Cavaliers game and watching Lebron James play in the first 3 minutes of the game, and the last 3 minutes of the game. 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.” In the wake of the success of young adult dystopian and fantasy franchises, fewer studios are betting on tales of normal teens, too, making Green’s movies more of an anomaly. In the book: Margo’s Walt Whitman poster on the back of her curtains leads to a song called Walt Whitman’s Niece, which leads them to highlighted text in the poem “Songs of Myself” in Whitman’s Leaves of Grass, which Ben finds wedged between two yearbooks in Margo’s room. It feels familiar yet refreshing to see the tandem of Neustadter and Weber employ a direct, tight plot –as opposed to the non-linear storyline seen in “500”– to forward Green’s simple but poignant message on how there is more to people than the labels or quick impressions we give them.

No one is particularly worried — she’s done this sort of thing before — but Quentin, deeply in love in that tormented-teenager way, is convinced she wants him to find her. In high-profile releases, this summer’s teens on screen have included Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver in “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” two young adults with superpowers, and Casey Newton of “Tomorrowland,” who travels to a strange world.

It would be cliche to say that “Paper Towns” shows us how life is more about the journey, except the movie embraces this, with its funniest, most moving scenes arriving only once the rubber hits the road. For big-budget movie releases over the next several months, protagonist Thomas and his friends will continue to fight against a mysterious authority in “Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials” and main character Zach will battle supernatural creatures in “Goosebumps.” English class is the last thing on the minds of most young adult characters in current movies.

The rhythm of Green’s smart dialogue flowed freely thanks to the direction from Jake Schreier, whose recent work include “Robot and Frank.” Particular stand-outs are Justice Smith, who plays the straight-faced Radar, and Austin Abrams, who portrays the ever-horny Ben —Quentin’s trusty steeds. I don’t know if it’s an attempt to add emotional weight to scenes like the one where Radar tells Angela “I’m not afraid of you, I’m afraid of losing you.” WHAT? The easy chemistry between the three boys — plus the two girls (Halston Sage and Jaz Sinclair) who join them along the way — carries the film when everything else starts to drag. Director Jake Schreier (“Robot & Frank”) and Delevingne neither idealize nor demonize Margo, allowing “Paper Towns” to explore the universal question of why we fall in love with people who are, at times, incredibly selfish.

They also get some laugh lines in, as when nerd Radar (Smith) disputes Quentin’s assertion they have been to parties before (“If there’s a tuba there, it’s not a party.”). “Towns” treads a fine line between inspiration and contrivance, shakily at times, along similar “Fault” lines to Green’s previous adaptation. The book centers on teenager Greg, who tries to not draw attention to himself in high school, works on making movies with his friend Earl, and gets to know a peer who was diagnosed with cancer. It is easy to write off “Paper Towns” as cliche or to overlook it considering the sizeable competition from Marvel’s “Ant-Man” and the upcoming “Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation.”

Ultimately, all journeys end. “Paper Towns” is about coming to terms with things that are over — youthful crushes and pop quizzes in English and childhood itself. It’s about finding that balance between fear and freedom, and its spot-on depiction of that process is what ultimately makes “Paper Towns” a trip worth taking.

Another exception is the teen comedy “The DUFF.” The movie, which was released this past February, did okay at the box office but wasn’t well-received by critics. In the movie: We see Radar and other characters using Omnictionary, but there’s no mention of Radar’s involvement, and the shot is so quick that it just looks like Wikipedia. As someone who just watched robots time travel in Terminator Genysis, the most improbable thing I’ve seen in film all year is Margo’s friend Lacey asking Ben to prom. Wolff (blind friend Isaac in “Fault”), who reads like a young Jonathan Silverman, and Delevingne play well enough off each other but don’t exactly set off fireworks.

Radar goes by OMNICTIONARIAN96 and Ben’s reads ITWASAKIDNEYINFECTION, in reference to the “Bloody Ben” nickname he earned from a disturbing kidney infection that left him peeing blood. Although the central relationship never ignites, the film’s greatest love seems to be for the very romance of teenage nights: staying out too late, making unwise decisions and doing things for both the last and first time. There’s a scene where the kids make a stop at a gas station and run around like a bad episode of Supermarket Sweep, grabbing snacks while a Radar voice-over goes on and on about how much time they have. Having Angela on the trip gave everyone involved a fun opportunity: For Radar to lose his virginity, for the world to meet Jazz Sinclair and for Green to admit he wishes he’d included her on the road trip in the book. They confront her about disappearing; Margo disses Lacey’s choice to date Ben; Margo gets mad at Quentin and the two duke it out over everything, including his idealization of her.

Then Margo admits that she’s kept a journal of stories about a fictional version of her 10-year-old self who had a crush on a fictional version of 10-year-old Quentin and she explains her desperation to get away from where she grew up. She’s surprised he found him and calls him out for idealizing her. “You love me?” Margo tells Quentin. “You don’t even know me.” Quentin is disappointed in the reality: Margo tells him she didn’t leave the clues as bread crumbs, but so he would know she was okay.

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