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Film review: Paper Towns - Cara Delevingne takes lead in teen drama

Movie starts out intriguing but ends up disappointing - and these teenagers are much too nice to be realistic

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 12 August, 2015, 10:22pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 29 August, 2015, 7:18pm

Paper Towns intrigues for the first hour before settling into the usual teenage platitudes about finding yourself and fitting in. But a smart script peppered with genuinely witty dialogue and some nuanced acting by a young ensemble cast at least keep this coming-of-age story watchable throughout.

Nerdy suburban schoolboy Quentin (Nat Wolff) is roped into a midnight caper with the love of his life, the cool and gorgeous Margo (Cara Delevingne).

When Margo disappears the next day, Quentin vows to find her, a task that's aided by some clues she's left. A sudden road trip to upstate New York with his two best friends ensues.

The characters here have mature conversations, but goof around like childen. It's a fine way to show adolescence, but they're too nice to be realistic — the writers have forgotten that teenagers can sometimes be cruel. Whereas teen films usually feature rebels who get into far more than they can handle, this polite bunch are so scared of any repercussions they don't dare do anything wrong.

The biggest problem is that this deceptively conventional story has an ending that manages to subvert the beginning.

In the first act, Margo exhorts Quentin to experiment, break some rules and not settle for an ordinary life. But the revelations that follow the road trip turn the film on its head and celebrate conservatism.

Paper Towns opens on August 13