One knows what to expect when walking into a movie adaptation of a Nicholas Sparks book. Insert a typical plot of two lovers facing unbearable levels of resistance to their romance and the steps they take to overcome them. We all know whats coming and yes, The Lucky One delivers!
After serving three tours in Iraq, Logan Thibault (Zac Efron) returns home to find himself haunted by his many near death experiences. He believes that a picture of a young woman that he found while serving overseas has helped him escape death. He sets out to find the young woman, walking from Colorado to Louisiana in search of his lucky charm.
Logan finds Beth (Taylor Schilling) a young mother and ex-wife of the local sheriff, working at her grandmother’s kennel. A predictable plot ensues; Logan wins over the matriarch of the family, falls in love with Beth, puts her ex-husband in his place and befriends her young son all the while overcoming his own demons.
Blythe Danner steals the show as the humorous quick-witted, but still tender grandmother. Her one liners really help to add some depth to the somewhat flat storyline and I am convinced that without her the movie may have gone straight to DVD. In one scene, she comes back from chorus practice slightly inebriated and I found myself wishing that my grandmother was that fun.
Sadly, the same cannot be said for Efron. Despite the facial scruff, he just cannot pull off smoldering veteran type. His acting wasn’t half bad, especially considering the dialogue he had to work with, but his High School Musical past comes back to haunt him. Schilling isn’t on her A game either. Her emotional breakdown in one particular scene, is downright laughable. Again, I am not sure if it is her acting chops or the writers themselves that made the scene so unbelievable.
As much as I would like to say that is was the actors that did this movie in, I whole heartedly blame the writers. Having read this particular book, I knew the material that they had to work with. The adaptation is so bland and lifeless, not to mention completely unoriginal and predictable. Similarly, some of the director’s film shots made me turn my head and whisper “was that necessary?” Imagine a close up on a clothed butt cheek wet from a shower, being forcefully grabbed and squeezed. It does not paint the intense passionate love scenes we are used to from previous Sparks movies.
All in all, I had higher hopes for this movie. My wishes for a movie that would appeal to my swooning teenager side, was not realized and instead I am left with wanting the hour of my life back. Bottom line: Go watch The Notebook again…you will be more satisfied.