Paper Towns: Book or Movie?

I love movies. Just not…the movies they have been making. For about the last ten looong years. Which means I was squealingly excited when they started making all my favorite books into movies. The latest of those, a whip-smart John Green classic, is Paper Towns.

Paper Towns pic

Paper Towns is about this crazy chick who does lots of cool stuff, and the nerdy guy who loves her, and then learns a lesson about how harmful it is to oversimplify someone into a fantasy image.

The book was a triumph of charisma and nerdiness, leaving me giggling and flipping pages for the next clue. The movie, as it turns out, is a fantastic translation of everything that made the movie great. The book starts out with HELLO! Crazy Ninja girl coming in through a window! Who is this chick? In the film, Cara Delevingne manages to hang on to every bit of that charisma and mystery, while Nat Wolff perfectly captures Q’s slump-shouldered sweetness. John Green’s funniest lines translate better to film in this than in the otherwise beautiful “The Fault In Our Stars” film. This movie, like most of Green’s books, makes us nostalgic for being normal teenagers again—if teenagers were two notches smarter and one notch wittier than we ever were.

My favorite character in the whole movie was Ben, a painfully average looking chap who spends most of his time making up imaginary girlfriends from summer camp, his visit to his aunt’s house, the last time he went to the grocery store…pretty much every time he’s out of his friends’ sight for long enough to qualify for A Plausible Encounter with a Fantasy Girl. The actor has a gut-busting talent for looking like your cousin Melvin while deadpanning the word “honeybunnies.”

My one complaint was that the pacing was a touch off. In the book you get to really sink into the adventures of the roadtrip and the Night O’ Pranks. In the movie, they come off a little abbreviated.

The Verdict

The book wins, but in a photo finish. Overall, this was an absolute pleasure, one that makes me look forward to the upcoming cinematic version of “Looking For Alaska.”

Next up for my Book to Movie reviews: Insurgent (2nd installment in the Divergent Trilogy).