Rambles like a bad Story
Ward Jansen (Matthew McConaughey) having become a major reporter for a Miami newspaper returns home with his friend Yardley (David Oyelowo) to investigate a racial murder case which has lead to Hillary Van Wetter (John Cusack) to be arrested and facing death row for the murder. But Ward doesn't think it is that clean cut especially when Van Wetter's trashy girlfriend Charlotte Bless (Nicole Kidman) arrives with all her letters she has written to the criminal. But things are complicated as Ward's younger; college drop out brother Jack (Zac Efron) has a thing for Charlotte. Meanwhile Ward is dealing his own sexual issues and both he and Jack are dealing with their father's new girlfriend.
I guess I am old fashioned and like movies to make sense and focus on telling a story, be it a story with a beginning and end or a look at the life of a character which focuses on something specific. As such "The Paperboy" which feels like a rambling mess did nothing for me and was a complete slog from start to finish as it seemed to be all over the place, one minute telling a story about a man in prison, the next focusing on Jack's dislike of his father's girlfriend whilst his fondness for the maid, played by Macy Gray, who acts as narrator for the story. It spins all over the place and it is the utter lack of focus which makes it frustrating.
But here is the thing about "The Paperboy" forget that it is a movie with some sort of storyline buried in there and focus on the performances and everyone in its own right is great. Kidman delivers a lusciously trashy performance as Charlotte whilst Matthew McConaughey brings to life his sexual conflict with one of the movies many big impact scenes. It is similar with John Cusack who sheds his nice guy image completely and delivers a real whack job as Van Wetter. And even Zac Efron reminds us that beneath the pretty boy looks beats the heart of an actor with a captivating performance of a curious character. The trouble is that the blinking story is such an incoherent mess that the performances never feel right together.
What this all boils down to is that "The Paperboy" is too all over the place for my liking and fails to really come together in a coherent matter. But as a look at actors committing to some extreme characters it is surprisingly impressive.