Film Review – The Lucky One

The Lucky One (M)

Directed by: Scott Hicks

Starring: Zac Efron, Taylor Schilling, Blythe Danner

One star

Review by: Julian Wright

 

Nicholas Sparks has become this millennium’s Stephen King when it comes to book adaptations. Already on the verge of Sparks overload, we were (mis)treated to two film adaptations of his books in 2010: Dear John and The Last Song. We were given a break in 2011 but here we go again with another book to film weepie. I suppose we have the continued success of The Notebook to thank for this.

I am not a fan of the kind of films that would have you reaching for the tissues every five minutes with their more often than not simple plotting, manipulative score and teary acting. But while I try to avoid them, I have seen a fair share of bad heart string tugging films. And this ranks as one of the worst.

In some G-rated war scenes, we are introduced to US Marine Logan Thibault (Zac Efron) who, in the middle of battle in Iraq, stumbles upon the photo of an attractive blonde. Convinced the photo, or the woman in the photo, is his lucky charm (he survives while some of his mates perish) he tries to track her down.

It is already a bit of a stretch that he finds this woman, Beth (Taylor Schilling) in North Carolina, but even more difficult to believe is that Logan finds it hard to tell her why he tracked her down in the first place. And so, a five-minute story is dragged out for 90 minutes as weak obstacles arise to force him to keep his mouth zipped. Logan gets a job with Beth at her family run kennel and eventually sparks up a relationship with her.

Their fairytale courtship does not experience smooth sailing however, as Beth’s chauvinistic and jealous ex-husband (and the local Sheriff, no less) Keith (Jay R. Ferguson) tries to keep them apart, threatening to take their son Ben (Riley Thomas Stewart) away from her if she doesn’t end things with Logan. Ho-hum.

The major problem this film has is that it expects us to believe in this badly plotted, poorly acted story and yet forgets one key element: character development. Efron broods his way through the proceedings as Logan, who is clearly written to be a man of little words, but we are always kept at arm’s length from him. There is no access to what makes him tick. We don’t know where he came from or what drives him. A fatal mistake. All the other relationships are unimaginatively drawn and feel more at home in a cheap TV movie.

Predictable, tiresome and cringe worthy, the lucky ones are the those that skip this dreary mess. As the guy next to me whispered to his partner during the preview: “Boring.” I couldn’t have said it better myself.

 

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