Friday, October 12, 2012

Terrible Terrible Paperboy

Efron, McConaughey, Kidman and Oyelowo in The Paperboy

I was really excited to see The Paperboy. Critics online were crapping on it in a major way. But there was all the campy elements that I read about. Those were what got me really excited. Plus Nicole Kidman always makes interesting choices. Which other actress has a varied career that includes The Hours, Dogville, Birth and Moulin Rouge to name just four great but disparate movies.  Lets just forget about Just Go With It and Trespass.

The Paperboy, directed by Lee Daniels of Precious fame,  tells the story of the titular character (Zac Efron), his brother, a journalist (Matthew McConaughey), the journalist's writing partner (David Oyelowo) trying to free a death row inmate (John Cusack) with the help of the inmate's pen pal and intended (Kidman). It takes place in the 1960s in swampy humid South Florida and is narrated by Efron's nanny/housekeeper (Macy Grey). It's as crazy as this synopsis implies.

It started OK but then it became unbearable.The characters didn't make sense, shocking scene followed shocking scene for no reason. Yes the famous one with Kidman peeing on Efron, but also two strange graphic sex scenes with Kidman & Cusack, And it was full of blood and gore that  it didn't earn with a coherent story. By the end I was looking away willing it to end.

But its not all bad. The period costumes were right on target. Daniels also an a great ear for capturing the nuances of race in that era and a few of the minor characters read authentic.

The acting is so - so. Efron is fine and he looks very good in the tighty whitties he spends most of the movie in.  But Cusack on the other hand was just plain bad. Macy Gray and Nicole were trying to do something interesting. Kidman goes all out, it's the kind of performance that would be called ballsy just for the crazy stuff Daniels & his screenplay put her through. McConaughey's character goes through a lot of crazy things too. But what story or vision are they serving? A very incoherent one at best that does not really even care about the story or its characters.Agree with critics who crapped on it - it alienated all the affection I had beforehand by being terrible.

The first movie of 2012 that I absolutely loathed ... and I have seen Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter.

1 comment:

Candice Frederick said...

wow. this certainly sounds so incoherent. i hate stories that are trying to shock and excite and do anything but. they fall on their face easily. too bad. there is some good talent here.