'The Paperboy'

COLIN COVERT | Updated 11/8/2012

This Lee Daniels film is not so 'Precious.'

Matthew McConaughey and Zac Efron in "The Paperboy."
Photo by Anne Marie Fox

1/2 out of four stars Where: Uptown. After his Academy Award-winning "Precious" three years ago, I anticipated a remarkable follow-up from Lee Daniels. What I didn't expect was this low-rent camp melodrama. Based on a potboiler crime novel by Pete Dexter, "The Paperboy" suggests something Tennessee Williams might have come up with, if he didn't know how to string together a plot. Set in 1969, the all-star cast of Matthew McConaughey, John Cusack, Zac Efron and Nicole Kidman can't overcome a lurid story line centering on the exoneration of a death-row inmate. It's rare to see top stars in one of the most insistently awful movies ever released.