31 July 2015 | matthewssilverhammer
Maybe I'm just getting old...
Maybe I'm getting old. These over-serious, platitude-filled teen dramas used to only mildly annoy me. Now, with Paper Towns, I feel myself getting irrationally angry at its desperate plea to be this generation's The Breakfast Club. From where is that resentment coming? Maybe it's that I'm a 30-year-old married-father who's not meant to like this movie. Maybe it's that I'm coming off the high of the teen drama Me and Earl and the Dying Girl. Whatever it is, Paper Towns irritated much more than it charmed. The premise has potential: nerd spends one magically frivolous night with the enigmatic girl of his dreams, Margot, before she inexplicably disappears. Instead of being unique, stylish, or progressive, it becomes the lament of the rich-white-teen and the manic pixie dream girl. Our "hero" is drawn to her magnetic mystery, but that appeal never reaches the audience. At times, she represents an idea more than a character, but mostly she's an unbearably selfish, manipulative shrew, using her womanly wiles to get whatever she needs. When she's off-screen, the interplay between the friends is watchable, but her bothersome presence is never far away. Worst yet, in the end PT never takes a stance on Margot, like the movie is trying to have its cake and eat it too. Stylistically, the movie is forcefully quirky, annoyingly cutesy, and boasts a soundtrack that's like someone pushed the "hipster" button on a Casio Keyboard. We can only blame director Schreier, whose previous film was the under-seen Robot and Frank. Just stay home and watch that, a story about a machine with more humanity than anyone in PT.