The Paperboy (2012) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Paperboy2012

The Paperboy (2012)



Critic Consensus: Trashy and melodramatic, The Paperboy is enlivened by a strong cast and a steamy, sordid plot, but it's uneven and often veers into camp.

The Paperboy Photos

Movie Info

A sexually and racially charged film noir from Oscar-nominated director Lee Daniels (Precious), The Paperboy takes audiences deep into the backwaters of steamy 1960s South Florida, as investigative reporter Ward Jansen (Matthew McConaughey) and his partner Yardley Acheman (David Oyelowo) chase a sensational, career-making story. With the help of Ward's younger brother Jack (Zac Efron) and sultry death-row groupie Charlotte Bless (Nicole Kidman), the pair tries to prove violent swamp-dweller Hillary Van Wetter (John Cusack) was framed for the murder of a corrupt local sheriff. Based on the provocative bestselling novel by Pete Dexter (Mulholland Falls, Rush), The Paperboy peels back a sleepy small town's decades-old façade of Southern gentility to reveal a quagmire of evil as dark as a Florida bayou. -- (C) Official Site

Watch it now


Zac Efron
as Jack Jansen
Nicole Kidman
as Charlotte Bless
John Cusack
as Hillary Van Wetter
David Oyelowo
as Yardley Acheman
Scott Glenn
as W.W. Jansen
Macy Gray
as Anita
Ned Bellamy
as Tyree Van Wetter
Nealla Gordon
as Ellen Guthrie
Edrick Browne
as Hustler #1
Danny Hanemann
as Sheriff Thurmond Call
Peter Murnik
as Death Row Guard
John P. Fertitta
as Sam Ellison
James Oliver
as Mr. Guthrie/Wedding Guest
Gary Clarke
as Weldon Pine
J.D. Evermore
as Gate Guard
Rene Piazza
as Kitchen Supervisor
Paul Michael-Fisher
as Wedding Photographer
Lydia Rooks
as Charlotte Girlfriend #1
Nicole Barré
as Charlotte Girlfriend #2
Camille Balsamo
as Pam/Beach Girl #1
Leslie Hippensteel
as Kim/Beach Girl #2
Grace Hightower
as Yardley's Girlfriend
Laurie Chilcoat
as Wedding Singer
Carmen Barika
as Singer #2
Nicole Porche
as Singer #3
Faizon Love
as Comedian
Rahsaana Ison
as Lady in Bar
Corrina Lyons
as Cousin Alice
John Thompson
as Interviewer
View All

News & Interviews for The Paperboy

Critic Reviews for The Paperboy

All Critics (146) | Top Critics (44)

The Paperboy is flawed, more deserving of a rubbernecking than a viewing. But it's hard to tear your eyes away.

March 20, 2013 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
Top Critic

It may yet become a camp classic, if no other kind.

March 15, 2013 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…

So bad it isn't even good-bad.

March 14, 2013 | Rating: 0/5 | Full Review…

A sleazy, overstuffed and terribly directed mess. But never boring and occasionally jaw-dropping.

March 14, 2013 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

"The Paperboy" is one of those rare examples where you might wish the movie was less faithful to the book.

October 26, 2012 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…
Top Critic

Yes, it's a dizzying stew set to boil.

October 19, 2012 | Rating: 2.5/4

Audience Reviews for The Paperboy


It looks and feels like something made in the 1970s but with a sordid quality that makes it so absurdly hilarious in all its filthy nonsense - thanks also to a terrific performance by Nicole Kidman as the trashy Southern blonde, who steals every scene she appears in.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer


Almost X rated - lots of graphic sex and violence. This is a very dark film, with people making terrible, tragic choices. Cusak, and McConaughey, were excellent....but, even great acting couldn't make all the ugliness worthwhile for me, or save a pointless script.

Cynthia S.
Cynthia S.

Super Reviewer


Set in the Jim Crow south during the civil rights movement, this lurid melodrama follows a college dropout as he helps his journalist brother investigate the case of a man who may have been wrongfully imprisoned; a strange love triangle heats up when he falls for the accused's nymphomaniacal death-row-groupie fiancee. The word "trashy" was invented for stories like this; it's as much fun as a stolen hump in the backseat of a 1965 Chevy Impala.

Greg S
Greg S

Super Reviewer

The Paperboy Quotes

There are no approved quotes yet for this movie.

News & Features