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The Paperboy

 October 5, 2012

Precious director Lee Daniels' newest arrives having already neatly divided the critical community with its appearance at Cannes. To some, it's a "pulpy, sweaty, outrageous" thriller that swims in the dark, swampy underbelly of late-'60s racial tension. To others—like our own Mike D'Angelo—it's an idiotic, deplorable, "prestige stinkbomb" that combines sloppy luridness with Daniels' usual heavy-handed social commentary, and tries to pass off scenes of embarrassing public masturbation, rape sequences randomly intercut with shots of rotting animals, and an already-infamous moment where Nicole Kidman pees on a jellyfish-stung Zac Efron as serious art worthy of equally serious consideration.

Of course, with all due respect to Mr. D'Angelo, that all sounds kinda fascinatingly awful, and this trailer doesn't too much to dissuade us from that opinion. There are godawful, molasses-drippin' Southern accents employed by Kidman, Efron, and John Cusack (seemingly channeling Robert De Niro in Cape Fear to play Kidman's imprisoned murderer beau), which are so bad they somehow even make Matthew McConaughey's sound fake. There are unexplained, Dreamgirls-evoking musical interludes. There are numerous shots of Kidman fluffing her breasts and making kissy faces before dancing in the rain with Efron, clad only in his tighty-whities. There are numerous reasons why this is destined either for campy, probably drag queen-hosted, midnight-movie infamy, or the same sort of guilt-ridden award-lobbing that greeted his last movie. Or maybe both!