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The Paperboy
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Reviews & Ratings for
The Paperboy More at IMDbPro »

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Index 128 reviews in total 

Seeking justice in the world of racism and sexual frustrations

6/10
Author: Bene Cumb from Estonia
18 November 2013

I expected to see a catchy thriller, but I saw a melodramatic and slow story of unrequited love with odd human relations in the background instead. The pace was hectic, the ending did not correspond to the rest of the movie, and the protagonist Jack Jansen was uninviting (perhaps due to the fact that Zac Efron is not a distinctive character actor).

Luckily, there are four great performances: Matthew McConaughey as Ward Jansen, Macy Gray as Anita / Narrator, John Cusack as Hillary Van Wetter, and Nicole Kidman as Charlotte Bless; thanks to them, I can rate The Paperboy with 6 points. If you like those performers, you will probably get the 1 hour 40 minutes through without yawning / blah! feelings, otherwise - skip it.

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Good actors imprisoned

5/10
Author: kosmasp
30 September 2013

Literally and figuratively speaking. There are constrains here that make this really tough to watch. Even when something bad happens to a character you came to like (verbally or otherwise), you are not as compelled as you wished it would/could be. There is some sexuality and nudity in this, but it is not really titillating.

There's also an infamous scene that might have already made the rounds involving Kidman and Efron. It's either disgusting or sexual, depending on your likings I guess. If you can see beyond that, there is a story that might have been more interesting if it was told in another light. What you get here is decent enough entertainment though

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It'll certainly linger...

4/10
Author: Daniel Elford from United Kingdom
13 September 2013

In one of its most audacious scenes, 'The Paperboy' features a sweaty, creepy, greasy, despicable John Cusack and a cheap, peroxide-blonde Nicole Kidman reaching simultaneous orgasm whilst sat across from each other in a prison....with an audience looking on. Although the word getting around that this is "that one where Nicole Kidman pisses on Zac Efron" was perhaps an early indication, it is nevertheless fair to say that 'The Paperboy', with its rather innocuous title and its poster headed by popular, bankable stars, is probably not the film you expect.

It really isn't! Co-written and directed by Lee Daniels, who drew a lot of attention with his harrowing sophomore film 'Precious', this is another often tough-to-take story of an investigative journalist, Ward, returning to his Florida hometown to look into the case of a potentially innocent death row inmate. With his younger, hormone-fuelled brother Jack as his driver, and the somewhat flimsy aid of a worryingly naive local woman who has been writing to, and has fallen for the inmate, Ward attempts to work out whether this man needs exoneration.

And so we enter Lee's world, and he is nothing if not consistent in his desire to create cinema that scars you. Set in late 60s Florida, 'The Paperboy' is imbued with the racial and sexual politics of its period, and its story is told with a wilfully unhinged and grungy eye.

In the time since its release, we have become used to the idea that McConaughey is taking on more challenging work, and certainly in this film his apparent contractual obligation to have his top off is fulfilled in an alarming sequence you will not find in any rom-com! Zac Efron is solid as Jack, the 20-year-old who is love-struck by Nicole Kidman's well-meaning hussy. In a relatively small role, John Cusack is the revelation who almost steals the show; we forget that this usually handsome man can REALLY act.

This film is all over the place; it is a mess, and is headed up by a man who seems either unable, or unwilling, to let it settle into any one groove. An amalgamation of dark comedy, disturbing psycho-play, investigative art house mystery, legal drama and even demented romance, it is sewn together with a defiance of settled pacing and shot through with shock factor. But plaudits must go to Lee for the bravery; having something to say and saying it with a film that, despite all the flaws, stuns and compels you to watch it through its slow first, strange second and 'Deliverence' style final act.

All-in-all this is a disaster, determined to keep you at a distance, and yet it is also a film that genuinely surprises you, and which you will not easily forget.

A very strange, confrontational film, and perhaps a brave one, but unfortunately 'The Paperboy' is never equal to the sum of its parts.

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Compelling Film

8/10
Author: leona_hilliard
15 May 2013

This is a very unsettling film - but it certainly makes you want to know what is going on.

I'm not sure what I thought it would be but each character is so well defined that it does not matter. I flinched several times but had to watch it to the end.

I'm not sure why the maid is the narrating voice for the story - and it was hard to interpret what her relationship really was with Jack (Zac Ephron).

Matthew McConaughy (sp?) was way out of his usual type in this film but for me, it wasn't hard to interpret fairly early on what his 'bent' was.

Nicole Kidman is recognizable in the early parts by her particular actions and then when you know, it's obvious.

Just compelling.

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"Anyhoo, I think y'all seen enough"

6/10
Author: doug_park2001 from United States
24 April 2013

Director Lee Daniels is known for 2009's PRECIOUS, a much better film that evokes the same sort of grittily maudlin mood that this one does, only in New York City, using mostly African American characters.

THE PAPERBOY does have two major redeeming virtues:

1. Maid Anita Chester (Macy Gray)'s narration, character, and interactions with Zac Efron (Jack Jansen);

2. The big ironic twist at the end after a patchy, meandering storyline.

The blurbs on the DVD box rave about what an outrageously different film this is, but I fail to see what they mean. It's just another "noir" piece that seems to be satirizing something--I'm not sure what. It's often funny in the usual dark, gross noir way, but usually more of a guffaw than lol sort of humor. The middle portions remind me of KILLER JOE, another film where McConaughey co-stars; however, KILLER JOE fans may be disappointed because THE PAPERBOY does not descend to the depths of utter tasteless nihilism that the earlier film did. The role that McConaughey plays here, btw, is a something of a departure from his usual roles.

All's well that ends well, I suppose.

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Sleazy, lurid, incoherent mess

Author: Neil Welch from United Kingdom
25 March 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

It is 1969. Jack Jansen (Zac Efron), the unemployed Paperboy of the title, is driving for older brother Ward (Matthew McConaughey), a reporter who, together with a black English colleague, is investigating the circumstances of the murder for which Hillary (John Cusack) is about to be executed. Also with them is Charlotte (Nicole Kidman) a blousey blonde hairdresser who is a Death Row groupie: Jack develops a bit of a thing for her. All this is being narrated by Anita, the black housemaid to the Jansen family (and Jack's mother substitute).

The above is not a plot synopsis, it is merely edited highlights of a sleazy, lurid, overwrought and ridiculous thriller which is, quite frankly, all over the shop. There might have been a decent, if improbable, noirish movie to be made here if only the filmmakers had got their act together and decided to make sense of the screenplay before film was ever put in the camera. The thing is full of irrelevances which are given as much weight as essentials - for instance, the film is narrated by Anita (often in patois so thick you can't make it out) who is the most incidental of incidental characters. She's not even necessary to make points about racism, Jack's journalist colleague does that.

There are some good performances and a definite sense of atmosphere, but this thing is a mess. Simple as that. Such a mess, in fact, that it is virtually impossible to determine exactly what this film is about (if, indeed, it is about anything).

Still, if nothing else, you can hold this film up as the only one in which you can expect to see Nicole Kidman urinate in Zac Efron's face.

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Very good film if you are in the mood to follow it .

8/10
Author: markhitchen
15 February 2013

Fantastic film in the most, very well acted and drags you along at a steady pace .Most of the acting is of a high order ,this helps to deliver the story . The only drawback for me is that it's quite hard to grasp who the characters are, it wasn't till very late in the film that I could say I knew who everyone was .I would class this as a Indy film and a very good one at that. You will encounter some nice and some not so nice twists in the film . This film also contains some well added suspense .Every main character in the film is portrayed perfectly at first it fells very odd but the more you get into the film the more you appreciate the direction the film has took. The film is not like most of it's type and is worth the effort it takes to give it a chance .

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Could you please knock?

6/10
Author: FlashCallahan from Leicester, United Kingdom
10 August 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Ward Jansen is a reporter for a newspaper and has returned home with close friend Yardley to investigate a murder case.

Younger brother Jack has returned home after a failed stint at university as a swimmer. Ward gives Jack a job on their investigation as their driver.

But the fiancée of the imprisoned convict, stirs up confusing feelings of love and lust for the young Jack.

Ward and Yardley's investigation stirs up deep-rooted issues of race and acceptance which could cause serious consequences for everyone involved....

Having now seen this movie, I really think the makers were not. Trying to make some PC important movie with a message, like Precious, but they have made this movie to shock, and I think that the three main stars were in on the plan too.

Kidman seems like she is trying to prove something his year with Stoker and now this, but she is good, McConaughy is again proving that he is a force to be reckoned with now, rather than being in comedies. Here, he channels Killer Joe.

Efron is as good as always, and will be a huge star, but for now, this is too over the top to shock. The scene where we first meet Cusack, is just plain odd, and the Jellyfish scene is laugh out loud funny, rather than shocking.

Granted, there is one death at the end which did shock me, and the final image is rather haunting, but as I've said, they've really gone into overkill with the imagery, leaving he rather good story sidelined.

The story really only comes to life when Macy Gray is on screen, and weirdly, she is the best thing in this movie.

A curioso movie, but not getting the message across.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Could/should of been better

4/10
Author: DWratings from United States
28 June 2013

I was initially intrigued to watch this due to its cast. Now I'm wondering why? A narrative story which was hard to understand the narrator at times. The story itself started off decent, only to end up a little swampy. One of those movies where good acting couldn't save the life of it, but good enough for a 4 of 10. Veteran actors McConaughey, Kidman and Cusack were good and responsible for most of the entertainment of the movie. I felt as if I was watching an underwear commercial with Efron. Grays performance was solid in the movie but definitely wrong choice to narrate. Last but not least the direction the director was going was all over the place. Expected a lot more movie with a cast like this but instead got an hour and forty seven minutes of trying to figure out what just happened and or what was said. 4 of 10-RENT IT

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

If I had merely three words to describe this film, they would be bizarre, trashy and messy.

5/10
Author: mcmurray-dani from Australia
28 June 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

If I had merely three words to describe this film, they would be bizarre, trashy and messy.

I found that the content of this film really diminished from the captivating performances by the stellar cast. Lee Daniel's directorial style is messy and all over the place. His intentions were ambiguous and the film ended up being overdone. I found that Daniel's didn't necessarily commit to any particular directorial and the diverse approaches he took didn't entirely gel. This being said, the film wasn't entirely poor. Daniel's was able to capture the 1969 Floridian vibe extremely well. The jerky zooms and gloomy cinematography assisted in evoking the feeling of turmoil and havoc during the Civil Rights Movement in Florida.

This film was very dialogue and actor driven and very unpredictable. Although the plot was reasonably simple, it was surprisingly difficult to focus one and I felt it got lost. The gruesome scenes make it difficult to concentrate on the plot and these scenes really detract from the film. This film is however very well performed and I highly enjoyed seeing all these wonderful actors play against the type cast. I loved seeing Nicole Kidman prevail in her interpretation of such a different role and captured the role perfectly. Kidman's extremely convincing and taps into the deep complexity of her character.

I also very much enjoyed seeing Zac Efron prove himself as a serious actor. Efron plays the shy character well and the vulnerability he portrayed was very appealing and allowed the audience to sympathize with his character. I believe his attempt to change his image was successful.

The chemistry between Efron and Matthew McConaughey was great and they gelled as brothers, which was impressive. I was also very impressed with Macy Gray's performance in this film and she played the moral center very well and was able to capture the dynamic of the 1960s hostility very well. In addition to this the performance of John Cusack is commendable. His commitment to the deeply creepy and dark role is fantastic.

Apart from the wonderful acting the unique story was unpredictable yet got very dark and unpleasant. Daniel's storytelling style is enigmatic and almost twisted. He pushed the boundaries, perhaps a little too far, and I found the film to be frustrating and grim.

If you're up for it, I'd recommend seeing it for yourself so you can see what all the hype is about!

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