Lately, it seems we've been hit with a spate of teen movies, most of which are largely forgettable. The Duff and Me, Earl and the Dying Girl are good films--definitely worth a rental. Next up is Paper Towns, and like the aforementioned movies, it is a respectable effort; interesting and well acted--so close.

Quentin (Nat Wolf) is in love with Margot. They have been friends since childhood; and now in high school, their lives are on a very different course. Quentin has his mainstream life mapped out: Duke, wife, kids at 30. Margot, on the other hand, is more of a free spirit, wrangling Quentin for late-night antics and living life moment to moment. So when Margot mysteriously disappears, Quentin is convinced she has put herself at the center of a puzzle he is meant to solve.

The highest praise for a film like this is a comparison to the work of '80s teen-film guru John Hughes--and that is happening left and right, probably deservedly so. My only beef with the movie is the film's own presumption of importance, if that makes sense. Rather than tell the story with a simple elegance, the movie seems to bash you over the head with its profundity. I'm probably nitpicking, but I like to decide if a film is meaningful by myself--and not be told. Nevertheless, this is a charming, engaging movie. It's a 7.