John Green. Most people call him a Young Adult author, others prefer the name ‘Teen Whisperer.’ And in the case of his 2009 novel, Paper Towns, Green’s teenager-understanding superpower proves to illuminate every word on each page. The film adaptation does the same — except in this case, the aura is not found on pages, but rather in a beige minivan, in an ordinary band room and in a vapid paper town.
High school senior, Quentin Jacobsen (Nat Wolff) leads a conventional calculus-loving, perfect attendance award-winning life, while Margo Roth Spiegelman (Cara Delevingne) lives quite the opposite; her life is rife with mystery and shallow, unfaithful friends. Quentin has been hopelessly in love with his neighbor, Margo, ever since they rode bikes without training wheels together as kids. And after years of sparse conversation and disconnection, the two share one night of breathtaking adventure before the ever-mysterious young woman vanishes in the morning.
Paper Towns ditches the typically portrayed picture of high school students in Hollywood films. The ever so cliché, lip-gloss smeared trio of popular girls is ditched for a more realistic group of friends: three band devoted, video-game enamored, girl-obsessed teenage boys.
Quentin, who conjures up the right amount of dry, yet perfectly delivered humor takes his friends on a rode trip quest to find Margo. Radar (Justice Smith) plays the wary, always-cautious character. While Ben, (Austin Abrams) who completes the trio of brainiacs, surely gets the most laughs out of the audience whether it is through his hilarious, yet uncomfortable urine jokes or his very gawky mission to find a prom date.
Also, a highly buzzed about cameo of Ansel Elgort who played the beloved Augustus Waters in John Green’s other YA adapted film, The Fault in Our Stars, surely brings satisfying gasps from audience members.
During the hours of gas-guzzling to find Margo, the not-so-traditional girl next door, the high schoolers, along with friends Lacey (Halston Sage) and Angela (Jaz Sinclair), project one of the overall themes of the movie — enduring friendship.
Keeping, for the most part, consistent with every chapter of the book, devout fans will most likely be satisfied after watching the film.
With a fair amount of wonderfully snarky lines and even more John Green-derived metaphorical sentiments, Paper Towns proves to be a movie of tastefully eclectic modes. The film seamlessly produces a message that the invaluable strings of friendship and adventure never falter — while the strings of mystery surely never break.