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The Paperboy by Lee Daniels

January 14, 2013

30 years later – or something like that – every time someone has onion cutting tears I still remember Jean-Jacques Beineix‘s Diva scene where you get a practical tip on how to avoid them, so I guess from on now every time I will spend time at the seaside and someone will be attached by jellyfish, Zac Efron and Nicole Kidman will pop into my mind and with them the memory of a bad film and of a Saturday night I could have spent watching an exciting NFL game. The Paperboy is a bad film, it has some good ideas and a lot of weird ones, weird is good but it’s not enough to make a good film, basically what do we have here?

The Paperboy is a coming of age tale set in Florida in 1969, Jack (Efron) is a young man who has been ejected from college for vandalism – it doesn’t come as a surprise, he was there for his muscles, not for his brains – now he is back home and has to deal with his own youth going into adulthood and the various characters around him, he will discover a few things about his family, his brother, about life, he will know sex and first love and some of these things will scar him for life. I read the film this way because of the title – at the end you get that he is “the paperboy” though the journalist in the family is Jack’s brother Ward (Matthew McConaughey) -and because of the screen time Efron gets, he is the main character but he is often overshadowed by the collateral stories and characters that are more vivid and receive better acting performances (Cusack, Kidman and Gray over all). There is too much going on in the film and while this could be a good basic idea – there is always too much going on when you grow up, too much things to understand and to cope with – from a cinematic perspective this film never fully realizes its potential.

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