REVIEW: The Paperboy

12 12 2012

The PaperboyThere’s no way Lee Daniels’ “The Paperboy” came from the same director as “Precious.”  A film this sweaty, steamy, and trashy simply does not follow a movie so emotionally searing and poignant.  And not only is the movie purely sordid, it isn’t even done artfully or tastefully.

I pray you haven’t seen director Lee Daniels’ debut film, “Shadowboxer,” because your eyes will never forgive you for it.  There’s a reason you probably haven’t heard of it, and that’s because the movie is an absolute mess from beginning to end.  Oh, and there’s also the matter of Cuba Gooding, Jr. and Helen Mirren having a pretty graphic sex scene.  Thanks, but no thanks.

But it’s Lee Daniels of “Shadowboxer” who showed up to direct “The Paperboy,” not Lee Daniels of “Precious.”  Now we are all left to wonder if Oprah directed “Precious” for him or something.  I’m serious, watch “The Paperboy” and try not to let these types of conspiracy theories bubble up in your head.  Well, actually don’t watch “The Paperboy” and just take my word for it that you would feel this way.


It didn’t bother me that Daniels was so married to a form in “The Paperboy,” the backwoods Southern exploitation flick.  Can’t say I’ve actually seen one of these before, but now I know what a bad one looks like.  It’s pulpy to the point of fault, going well beyond consideration even as kitsch.  A part of me thinks Daniels was trying to channel a rural Adrian Lyne, which might explain the bizarre vicarious sex scene between Nicole Kidman’s minx Charlotte Bless and John Cusack’s jailed convict Hillary Von Wetter.  And it would definitely explain the number of shots relishing in the fact that Zac Efron seems to be clad in nothing but his tighty-whities for the majority of the movie.

Daniels can’t get any sort of a performance out of Efron, who just stands still, is half-naked, and looks visually pleasing to women.  Matthew McConaughey at least provides some action!  He helps move the murder mystery along and seems to be trying to make some part of this stillborn film work.

Nicole Kidman, on the other hand, is working in overdrive to try to make “The Paperboy” some kind of meager success.  In her quest, she becomes the epitome of scenery chewing, acting to the eves in a performance so big and over-the-top it becomes laughable.  Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the disaster that is “The Paperboy” as a whole.  It’s not even so bad that you can enjoy it; it’s just plain terrible.  D+1star



3 responses

12 12 2012
Mark Walker

Sorry to hear this man. I was really looking forward to this one. Thanks for the warning.

12 12 2012

I enjoyed Precious but man… I didn’t like Shadowboxer at all. I’m not sure if I want to see this.

14 12 2012

Don’t see it. No point.

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