*1/2 (out of four)
What an odd title “The Paperboy” is for a movie with so little story.
Technically there's a plot, in which Jack (
If you haven't seen that film, characters played by
Daniels and Dexter seemingly forgot to detail the “Paperboy” investigation while focusing on the pointless framing device of Jack’s family’s maid Anita (Macy Gray) narrating the story—despite the fact that she’s not around for most of the events she describes. There’s also no consistency. Daniels happily depicts a laundry room sex-a-thon between Hillary and Charlotte (Nicole Kidman), a woman who fixates on inmates and this one in particular. Yet when Jack finally consummates his crush on Charlotte, Anita essentially says in voiceover, “OK, we’ve seen enough of that.” Why, because of the actual emotion there, rather than something sleazy and regrettable?
Even more so than “Killer Joe” (which also starred McConaughey), “The Paperboy” exploits without exploring. Jack’s love never seems like more than lust. We never wonder about Hillary’s guilt or innocence. Racism and homophobia appear without Daniels making any statement about them.
He’s far more interested in urine (Charlotte pees on Jack after a jellyfish attack), semen (Charlotte seduces Hillary from a few feet away, and Daniels is sure to present the result in his pants) and gutted alligator intestines. The result is mostly boring trash that feels like what John Grisham would write on his laziest, horniest day.
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