I’m sitting here trying to think of something positive to say about this film that takes itself far too seriously and tries too hard to seem sophisticated and deep and fails so miserably in every scene. The music was pretty good, the little of it there was anyway. Maybe that is the clue to making this a good film, make less, or rather now, watch less of it.
The story is nothing new, manic pixie dream girl-esque plot which has been done a lot of times and a lot better. Some complaints that people had about ‘The Fault in Our Stars’ was that Green’s dialogue was too complex and too smart for the characters and while it was charming and it worked well in that film, in this film it is abhorrently clear that Green cannot get an audience to connect with his characters through dialogue, or maybe that is the trick of his success, every teen thinks they are witty, a genius and always have a snappy comeback no matter what is thrown at them, but they are wrong, life isn’t like that. It is extremely distracting in this film as what should be a seemingly realistic film, just starts to look like a campy play.
That dialogue, combined with performances that were mostly not great, they were fine, but nowhere near as good as they need to be when carrying a film like this, look at Miles Teller, Shailene Woodley, Logan Lerman, Ezra Miller, etc. All have been stars of films that are similar to ‘Paper Towns’ and every one of them brought some genuine talent to the film and elevated what can sometimes be a simple story.
The directing was nothing impressive either, just a standard paint-by-numbers affair with no visual flair or any sign of risk-taking, which is a shame as so much could have been done with this film visually and instead it was just laid out on the screen like there was no thought gone into the film-making process.
The story like I said is a very simple story and unfortunately nothing about the film kept me engaged, the characters were 2D, as much as Green’s dialogue would try to convince you otherwise, the dialogue was so processed you can almost feel the desperation of sophistication whenever a character talks. To put it simply, the film is so dull and considering this is coming after the fantastic ‘The Fault in Our Stars’ it just leaves me wondering what went wrong here.
While the film isn’t the worst I’ve ever seen, it’s almost more abhorrent in the fact that it was a void of a film. If the film was utterly terrible, that would leave me with more to talk about, but as it stands it is just a very dull, standardly made film that isn’t worth anyone’s time.