“Two and a half hours after it finished screening in the Grand Palais, Lee Daniels‘ The Paperboy is being primarily spoken of as the Nicole Kidman-pees-on-Zac Efron flick. Her line before she does so — ‘If anyone’s gonna pee on him, it’s gonna be me’ — is also tweeting around.
“In other words, the press gang at Cannes thought The Paperboy was mostly a joke.
“Which is what Daniels apparently intended on some level — to flavor or season it with foolery. I love it when referenced goof humor is thrown into a drama, but the film has to be believable in the usual ways — you have to accept the bedrock reality of the story and characters — but almost all of The Paperboy reeks of fake. Bits and flourishes are pasted on and thrown at the wall. The result is something sloppy, inept and — sorry — appalling.
“Defenders (like Guy Lodge) have called it a camp classic and…whatever, an instant midnight movie for stoners. I actually think it might find some traction in this vein. But most reactions have been mocking and derisive. The response at the end of the 8:30 press screening went beyond boos. A guy somewhere to my right got a case of the giggles around the two-thirds mark and couldn’t stop…’Hoo-hoo-hoo…oh-hee-hee-hee!'” — from my 5.24.12 Cannes Film Festival review.