Talk about your beasts of the Southern wild! In director
Coming off his successful and daringly intense adaptation of
The script by Dexter and Daniels pushes the novel's action back to 1969, reassigning, with mixed success, the narrative voice to a supporting African-American domestic (Macy Gray) observing the doings and undoings of the ruling white folk who can't keep their pants on, or can't handle the truth, or can't bury it properly.
Looking like her own drag queen,
Daniels' priorities in adapting "The Paperboy" were to make the story more racially diverse, turning Ward's partner Yardley over to black actor
Matters of restraint, of course, mean nothing in scenes such as Kidman urinating on Efron's jellyfish-stung body (medicinal, you know) or Cusack's lust-crazed inmate masturbating during a prison visit from his honey. The incidents come from the book, but the treatment is very different: Daniels wants to embrace the extremes, stylize the images, shoot parts of the movie like the fantasy sequences in "Precious" and other parts like ... well, other parts. It's errant camp, which has the effect of undermining our involvement in the mystery.
'The Paperboy' -- 2 stars
MPAA rating: R (for strong sexual content, violence and language)
Running time: 1:47