The Paperboy

The Paperboy

(2012)

All-star legal thriller set in sweaty 1960s Florida about two brothers (Zac Efron and Matthew McConaughey) investigating the case of a death row inmate (John Cusack) after a woman (Nicole Kidman) convinces them of his innocence. From Lee Daniels, director of the Oscar-winning Precious.... More

Van Wetter (Cusack) is sentenced to death in Florida for the murder of a policeman. While in prison, Wetter meets by correspondence the sultry Charlotte (Kidman). Believing him innocent, Charlotte enlists the help of investigative journalists Jack (Efron) and Ward (McConaughey). They find inconsistencies in Wetter’s case and battle through the murky waters of Florida's justice system to uncover the truth.Hide

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Flicks Review

If director Lee Daniels wanted to follow up the Oscar-winning Precious: Based on the Novel “Push” by Sapphire with a film in which Nicole Kidman literally pisses all over Zac Efron then I say more power to him. But The Paperboy asks more questions than just exactly why the hell Daniels would decide that this was a good idea, questions that range from big ones like whether he was really the man for the job of bringing this hot and steamy tale to the screen to smaller issues like “what the hell has Kidman done to her face?”... More

There’s an engrossing tale somewhere in The Paperboy, a Southern small-town thriller riddled with sex and prejudice, but Daniels does what I wouldn’t have thought possible by trowelling the ludicrousness on too thick to be satisfyingly enjoyable on a solely trashy basis. Something about his film just doesn’t hold together - not that this can be attributed to the cast, whose performances range from Kidman’s wonderfully over-the-top (yet somehow almost convincing) prison groupie to Efron and Matthew McConaughey’s straight(ish) turns.

In the hands of a different director this could have been much more enjoyable, as any film with telekinetic masturbation should be. But Daniels struggles to find a rhythm, and when he decides to indulge in some frantic fast cutting to go along with his wobbly cinematography and “hey look, we’re shooting on film” approach, it begins to become apparent he’s bitten off more than he can chew in trying to emulate a style that doesn't really seem to be his own.Hide


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The Press Reviews

43% of critics recommend.
Rotten Tomatoes Score. More reviews on Rotten Tomatoes

  • Great trash, and as Pauline Kael told us, the movies are so seldom great art that if we can't appreciate great trash, we might as well not go at all. Full Review

  • Gripping, scary and queasily funny. Full Review

  • This is a tale of murder, idealistic journalism, warped sexual desires, a slipshod legal system and inbred backwater types hostile to outsiders. Full Review

  • There is so much grit in Kidman and McConaughey's performances, it's a lot for Efron to stand up to, but he does a good job of giving Jack a cocky innocence that is disarming. Full Review

  • It is by turns lurid, humid, florid, languid and stupid, but it is pretty much all id all the time. Full Review

  • A throwback to the exploitation cinema of its period. As such, it's grungy, tasteless and hard to take your eyes off. Full Review

  • Constantly edgy and fascinating to watch, The Paperboy is stronger in its parts than as a whole, mostly due to the script that never fully satisfies. Full Review

  • A risibly overheated, not unenjoyable slab of late-'60s Southern pulp trash, marked by a sticky, sweaty atmosphere of delirium and sexual frustration. Full Review

The Talk
77 %

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