Seven dollars and sixty cents can be spent on a lot of worthwhile things. Four cans of Monster or six or seven cans of Venom would be more enjoyable than this movie was (granted, the energy drinks would be more unhealthy). Being a fan of the book by John Green, I had confidence that this movie would follow the book nicely like The Fault In Our Stars did. Fault not only followed the source material closely, but it also managed to carry the spirit of the book too. This movie, I'm sorry to say, managed to feel like only a half-baked attempt at recreating the Paper Towns book.
Before I begin, here's the plot: Paper Towns is a coming-of-age story centering on Quentin and his enigmatic neighbor Margo, who loved mysteries so much she became one. After taking him on an all-night adventure through their hometown, Margo suddenly disappears--leaving behind cryptic clues for Quentin to decipher. The search leads Quentin and his quick-witted friends on an exhilarating adventure that is equal parts hilarious and moving. Ultimately, to track down Margo, Quentin must find a deeper understanding of true friendship--and true love.
Don't worry, I'll be reviewing this movie as a movie on its own first. Unfortunately, even as a movie on its own, it's not that good. It lacks the right amount of depth to make this memorable at all even though you can tell they tried. The acting wasn't exactly top-notch, and the story felt rushed and not nearly as exciting as it could've been. I'm getting tired of those movies about teenagers where the teenager is always narrating it. It's becoming a very old and tired formula to me. Why can't we be able to witness the main character's life from our own perspective, rather than always seeing it through the main character's eyes? Granted the latter would be a much more intriguing perspective to a lot of people, but I'm waiting for the day when a movie based on a YA novel tries something new.
This actually brings me to my next problem with this movie. This movie lacks anything really fresh or noteworthy. The characters are also unlikeable, including the mysterious and elusive Margo Roth Spiegelman. Margo was probably the most frustrating part of this movie. I know I'm comparing this to the book again, but how in the world can I not? I promise that if you haven't read the book yet, you're going to get a lot more out of reading it then seeing this movie. Margo lacks the depth and intrigue that she had in the book, making her feel paper-thin as a character (see what I did there?). On top of that, she's not a good influence or admirable at all. She's selfish and unlikable, willing to run away from home forever, leaving behind the people that love her because she wants to find out "who she is". The movie wants you to feel good for Margo that she's being a rebel, but instead she comes off as self-centered and incredibly easy to hate, which was the opposite way I felt when I read about her in the book.
There was one scene from the book that I was really looking forward to seeing them do in this movie, but when the scene in the movie started, I wanted to kick the seat in front of me (me and my Mom were the only ones in the theater). Some of the changes made were downright ridiculous and ruined the feel of the story. It's hard for me to explain how without giving things away, and given that this a spoiler-free review, I'm inclined to keep my mouth shut.
Remember how as the Hobbit movies were coming out, a lot of Tolkien purists were complaining how different the movies were compared to the book (even complaining about how The Hobbit was turned into three movies in the first place)? Well, I feel like one of those people now with Paper Towns. Now, please know that I'm not a book purist at all. In fact, I love it when movie directors try making some major changes for book-to-movie adaptions, because a lot of times they come up with stuff that enhances the story. That's not the case here. Overall, this movie felt...empty, whether you've read the book or not. It was an empty attempt at adapting a good book that could've been so much better or even been better off untouched. You want a good movie experience based on a John Green novel? Just watch The Fault In Our Stars again. I know that that's what I'll be doing.
DVD Purchase? Will not be purchasing.