Blu-ray Review: Horrendous ‘The Paperboy’ Wastes Talented Cast
CHICAGO – Some have embraced Lee Daniels’ super-weird “The Paperboy,” recently released on Blu-ray and DVD, as pure pulp entertainment, the kind of sexy, sweaty, ridiculous B-movie that they don’t make enough of any more. Others have called it absolute trash with The Onion A.V. Club going as far as to name it the worst movie of the year. I’m much closer to The Onion in this case. As hard as I tried to get on the wavelength of this film’s growing cult movie reputation, I couldn’t shake the fact that it’s just a piece of junk.
Part of the problem with “The Paperboy” (and there are many parts) is that Daniels cannot decide how seriously he wants to be taken. His story is high camp but he injects it with social commentary about civil and gay rights and the blend never works. There are many things in “The Paperboy” that never work. As much fun as Nicole Kidman seems to be having (and she steals the movie in EVERY way), her efforts are undermined by horrendous performances from Zac Efron, John Cusack, and Macy Gray that are half-asleep, miscast, and just plain awful, respectively. It’s a movie with a murder case that doesn’t matter, sex scenes with no passion, and no sense of directorial drive at all. It feels like an amateur production. “Let’s go make a movie in the swamp!” As the long-awaited sex scene finally arrives, Macy Gray, in one of her many poorly-delivered lines of narration, says, “Anywho, I think y’all seen enough.” It’s the most truthful line in the film.
The Paperboy was released on Blu-ray and DVD on January 22, 2012
Photo credit: Millennium Entertainment
A sexually and racially charged film noir from Oscar-nominated director Lee Daniels (Precious), The Paperboy takes audiences deep into the backwaters of steamy 1960s South Florida, as investigative reporter Ward Jansen (Matthew McConaughey) and his partner Yardley Acheman (David Oyelowo) chase a sensational, career-making story. With the help of Ward’s younger brother Jack (Zac Efron) and sultry death-row groupie Charlotte Bless (Nicole Kidman), the pair tries to prove violent swamp-dweller Hillary Van Wetter (John Cusack) was framed for the murder of a corrupt local sheriff. Based on the provocative bestselling novel by Pete Dexter (Mulholland Falls, Rush), The Paperboy peels back a sleepy small town’s decades-old façade of Southern gentility to reveal a quagmire of evil as dark as a Florida bayou.
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