It's a debunking of the mythology surrounding something over which far too many movie characters lust.
Much of that praise deserves to be thrown the way of novelist John Green, whose novel served as the basis for the film. If his name rings a bell, it's because his The Fault in Our Stars made buckets of money in 2014. The novel has been adapted by Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber, both of whom previously worked on Fault, along with (500) Days of Summer, which was another film that took a different look at the Manic Pixie Dream Girl stereotype.
Nat Wolff - who had a supporting role in Fault, interestingly enough - is a rising star who brings charisma, hope, and a touch of naivety to the role. The chemistry he has with his co-stars is fantastic. Cara Delevingne, absent from much of the film's second act, is certainly an interesting actor. We saw her earlier this year in The Face of an Angel, and while she doesn't appear to be a great actor, she's got such an undeniable screen presence that you hope her character will be found just so you can watch her work. We root alongside Q not just because we hope the characters will find each other and fall in love, but because we hope Delevingne will show up to spout some "inspirational" dialogue at the other characters.
Paper Towns does occasionally fall victim to the clichés it so readily tries to avoid, but for the most part it's a funny, emotionally earnest movie that tries to pick apart the Manic Pixie Dream Girl character type, all while providing us with interesting characters, a fast-paced plot, and a thoughtful screenplay. It works far more often than it doesn't, and for the majority of its running time it's well worth the watch.
Bottom Line: Paper Towns is another successful John Green adaptation - although it's a very different film from the last one.
Recommendation: If you want a smarter, more earnest teen movie, Paper Towns is one to watch.
If you want more of Matthew "Marter" Parkinson, you can follow him on the Twitter @Martertweet and check out his weekly movie podcast.