Mixed or average reviews - based on 38 Critics What's this?

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Mixed or average reviews- based on 42 Ratings

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  • Starring: , , ,
  • Summary: It all begins in the steamy rural backwater of Moat County, Florida, where things have been done the same way for decades, yet change is bubbling beneath the surface. Boyish Jack Jansen, son of the local newspaper publisher, has just returned home after being kicked out of college, only to take the lowly job of paperboy. But that too changes when his idolized journalist brother Ward comes to town from Miami on the trail of a story that could make his career. Bringing in tow his hotshot writing partner Yardley and the alluring death-row groupie Charlotte Bless, Ward plans to prove that an innocent man has been railroaded on his way to the electric chair. With Jack as their driver, the quartet arranges to meet Hillary Van Wetter, the seedy alligator hunter hastily convicted of killing the local sheriff, at the prison. But what erupts between them all is a tangled web of sexual tension, mixed motives and shadowy facts that will set off not only a search for the truth but a chain reaction of passion and violence. Observing it all is Jack’s only real confidante -- the disregarded family maid Anita – who watches in dismay as his innocence is turned inside out. (Millennium Entertainment) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 38
  2. Negative: 11 out of 38
  1. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    Sep 29, 2012
    In the spirit of the venture, the entire cast gets down and comes off all the better for it. Both Efron and McConaughey get very messed up physically, and both actors seem stimulated to be playing such flawed characters.
  2. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    Oct 7, 2012
    Gator-filled swamps, an ultra-grungy murderer, racial undertones and a sexually charged atmosphere make up the tense and lurid world of The Paperboy.
  3. Reviewed by: Jonathan Kiefer
    Oct 2, 2012
    When not contriving to get Efron out of his clothes, The Paperboy gropes for familiar movie language of its period setting: Soul music swells up excitedly over a jumble of jerky zooms, befuddling cuts, and spatial vagueness. But sometimes hot messiness has its charms.
  4. Reviewed by: R. Kurt Osenlund
    Oct 2, 2012
    The Paperboy deserves to be seen for its pulpy, well-executed excess, but as a filmmaker, Lee Daniels seems ignorant of how the shocks distract from the story.
  5. Reviewed by: Rick Groen
    Oct 18, 2012
    The Paperboy is southern Gothic wallowing in the swamp of low camp. And if the wallowing were deliberate, this might have been hugely funny.
  6. Reviewed by: Eric Kohn
    Oct 4, 2012
    Lee Daniels' The Paperboy is a rare case of serious commitment to outright silliness.
  7. Reviewed by: James Rocchi
    Sep 29, 2012
    A lurid, florid, humid, flaccid and insipid waste of time and money for the audience and for everyone who made it.

See all 38 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 14
  2. Negative: 3 out of 14
  1. Feb 16, 2013
    This film is messy just like everyone is saying. It's also a little thin in some places but this thinness works because it keeps the story light and fun despite its periodic lurid/grisly bubbling over it is nearly perfect in what it wants to do; nothing appears forced or rings false (a credit to daniels) and of course the acting (even efron, whose blankness is necessary) is amazing. Expand
  2. Jun 25, 2013
    This is an interesting film but only some people will like it. It has many things to say and show but the director doesn't achieve to show them in a good way. i like the movie though i expected more. Nicole Kidman impressed me with her sexual appearance-scene and the ending it's a little bit of dull and not what you would expect. However, i liked the movie and as I said in the begining some people may not like for different reasons. I liked it anyway Expand
  3. Jan 4, 2014
    Interesting film with lots of great acting: Nicole Kidman, John Cusack, Matthew, everybody, including Zac Efron, I discovered that he is a real actor with this film. Can´t wait to see more roles from him. The biggest problem is the same that all Lee Daniels films have: too many things going on without completely going for it. He should focus on one particular issue in each of his films, the results would be better. But still, I really liked this one, the cinematography is great and many of the topics they handled were very interesting. Yes it´s a bit disturbing but it´s this director´s style. It´s like an American Almodovar. people should get over it. Just learn to embrace human nature. Collapse
  4. May 22, 2013
    Acting was pretty good, I thought Macy Gray stole the show with her character imo. I agree that the plot was all over the place and never really stuck to one thing but instead branched off into multiple areas, Each ending in a very unsatisfying way. I was rather disappointed when it branched off into the Homosexual sub-plot (not going to spoil it but it was rather stupid and pointless), From that point on the movie took a nose down and never recovered. Worth giving a chance but can't say that I'd strongly recommend it. Expand
  5. Oct 5, 2012
    What a mess of a film. After "Precious" this just does not seem quite right coming from Daniels. Visually, the film is not bad. The cinematography is great, with a definite 60s glare to it, which works to truly transform your vision and make it seem as if it were shot in the 60s itself. The original score is pretty decent too, with some good tunes, especially "That man is dangerous." The storyline, however, is rather weak and the dialogue at times makes no sense. A lot is also left unexplained -- like McConaughey's love life and events surround that. It is rather gory and out there, which might repeal some viewers, but overall it is definitely an interesting film visually. What stood out to me (in a positive light) were the performances. Efron, though contained, was decent in his performance, as was McConaughey. John Cusack was excellent as the vicious murderer Hillary. His manic look and twitches really brought Hillary to life, as a credible character. The absolute best thing about the film, however, was Nicole Kidman. She shines as the sultry, sexy, yet a bit dim-witted Charlotte Bless, who has a thing for prison convicts (i.e. Cusack in the film). She steals every scene she is in, and that is quite an achievement considering the cast. With her platinum wig, short/tight outfits, and fake tan, she embodies her character perfectly. Another exceptional performance comes from Macy Gray, who unfortunately doesn't get too much screen time, but she does amazingly well with the little she's been given. It is the Viola Davis in 'Doubt' moment for 'The Paperboy'. Overall, a rather underwhelming film that, despite excellent performances, leaves you wondering what the point of the whole film was. Daniel's does seem to be at the top of his game directorially in many ways, but he has definitely missed the mark here. Expand
  6. Nov 13, 2014
    "The Paperboy" 10 Scale Rating: 4.0 (Bad) ...

    The Good: Despite a weak script Efron, McConaughey, and Oyelowo do an excellent job.
    Initially an interesting story, you can't help but wonder what could have been.

    The Bad: Tries way too hard. It is odd because it is an obvious drama, but at times gets really corny and attempts to be comical. Those scenes seem so random and out of place that you wonder if you're still watching the same film. Nicole Kidman received several accolades for her performance, but I'm not sure why. She was decent at best.
  7. May 22, 2013
    One of those movies you watch until the credits roll, and are only left with a bad feeling in your stomach.
    Should have turned this one off a
    bit sooner! Expand

See all 14 User Reviews