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Movie review: Southern potboiler 'Paperboy' steamy but senseless

Published October 26, 2012 5:21 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Steamy, sexy and ultimately too silly to be believable, "The Paperboy" is an insane Southern potboiler with the lid off and good sense thrown out the window.

In a small Florida town, circa 1970, Miami reporter Ward Jansen (Matthew McConaughey) returns home to investigate a local alligator hunter, Hillary Van Wetter (John Cusack), on Death Row for murdering a local sheriff. Ward and his black colleague (David Oyelowo) follow the pleas of Hillary's pen-pal girlfriend Charlotte Bless (Nicole Kidman) — but things become complicated when Ward's hunky little brother Jack (Zac Efron), who's acting as Ward's driver, starts becoming obsessed with Charlotte.

Director Lee Daniels, in his follow-up to his Oscar-winning drama "Precious," and co-writer Pete Dexter (adapting Dexter's novel) have a good handle on the sweaty, Southern-fried setting, drawing plenty of energy on both the racial and sexual tensions. But the piling-on of outlandish and faux-offensive scenes (starting with the already-infamous image of Charlotte peeing on a jellyfish-stung Jack) slides into senseless stupidity.

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'The Paperboy'

Opens Friday, Oct. 26, at the Broadway Centre Cinemas; rated R for strong sexual content, violence and language; 107 minutes. For more movie reviews, visit nowsaltlake.com/movies.