The Paperboy – Before I saw this, I wanted to like it more than I did. This was because it’s got two great lead actors who can pull off a blinding performance when they’ve got the right script and the right director who knows what to do with it, and this had a great premise where a reporter, Ward Jansen (Matthew McConaughey, once again giving it the Deep Southern drawl) returns to his Florida hometown to investigate a case involving death row inmate Hillary Van Wetter (John Cusack), who’s there after being accused of murdering a sheriff.
Unfortunately, a John Grisham thriller this is not, and it spends far too much time away from these two and looking at the relationship between Ward’s younger brother, Jack (Zac Efron), and loose woman Charlotte Bless (Nicole Kidman), who spends much of her time writing to prison convicts, as he goes sniffing around her. Throw in other characters such as another reporter, Yardley Acheman (David Oyelowo), who doesn’t quite fit into the storyline, and Macy Gray as the Jansen’s housemaid Anita Chester, who tells the story in flashback – and while I can’t stand her music, she does put in an amusing turn here – and overall, it’s a bit of a mish-mash in terms of how it goes together and just doesn’t really work, but is mostly a comfortable watch.
For those unfamiliar with the term, a paperboy is a reporter. Other asides are at it’s shot in Super 16 to give it an intentionally grainy look and there are many engaging touches to the filming process. Acting wise, the two leads don’t really get a chance to shine, but even Zac’s okay, here, and women will like the fact he spends most of the film not wearing very much. What they make of him being peed on by Kidman after he suffers a jellyfish sting, however, is anyone’s guess.
Running time: 107 minutes
Released: March 15th 2013
Widescreen: 2.35:1 (Super 16)
Director: Lee Daniels
Producers: Ed Cathell III, Lee Daniels, Cassian Elwes, Asger Hussain, Simone Sheffield and Hilary Shor
Screenplay: Lee Daniels and Peter Dexter (based on the novel by Peter Dexter)
Music: Mario Grigorov
Ward Jansen: Matthew McConaughey
Jack Jansen: Zac Efron
Charlotte Bless: Nicole Kidman
Hillary Van Wetter: John Cusack
Yardley Acheman: David Oyelowo
W.W. Jansen: Scott Glenn
Tyree Van Wetter: Ned Bellamy
Anita Chester: Macy Gray
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.