Nicholas Sparks has developed a reputation for writing romantic (some may call soppy) stories about impossible love. After film adaptations of three of his novels, A Walk to Remember (2002), The Notebook (2004) and Dear John (2010), it is Scott Hicks – the director of the 1996 Academy Award-winning film Shine – who takes on Sparks’ fourth adaptation, The Lucky One.
High School Musical‘s Zac Efron plays Logan, a former US Marine who finds a discarded photo of a young woman during his time in Iraq. As its discovery saves him from an explosion, he sees her as a ‘guardian angel’ and takes it upon himself to find this woman. In Louisiana, he eventually finds and meets her – Beth Clayton (Taylor Schilling) and while working at her kennel and spending time with her young son Ben, they find themselves falling for each other.
The thing about Sparks’ novels and subsequent adaptations is that they have the same problem – they idealise the theme of romance. Young teenage girls fawn over the male teen idol and think that this whole idea of love conquers all can actually comes true – it is like an extended episode of a teen drama, most likely Dawson’s Creek. The result is a predictable and almost cliché storyline and script – and unfortunately, this occurs in The Lucky One. These elements are supposed to tug your heartstrings, but it doesn’t even make the heart skip a beat.
Efron tries to shed his teen idol image by beefing up, so his toned-down performance without his megawatt smile in his first adult lead role is calm and controlled. The chemistry between him and Schilling simmers but lacks conviction. Thank goodness for Blythe Danner, who plays Beth’s grandmother, to bring some humour into the mix. The film itself looks lush and lovely with its sun-streaked trees and autumnal tones but it doesn’t stop the film from being another addition to the slush pile.
The Lucky One is released on DVD and Blu-ray 27th August 2012. Extras include a Digital Copy and three featurettes, two of them include Efron getting all sweaty…if you like that kind of stuff.
Director: Scott Hicks
Writers: Will Fetters (screenplay), Nicholas Sparks (novel)
Stars: Zac Efron, Taylor Schilling, Blythe Danner
Runtime 101 min