Most people know what to expect when watching a Nicholas Sparks’ film adaptation: a mushy, over-the-top love story starring two of Hollywood’s finest. “The Lucky One” is just that, minus the key elements needed to make a romance believable.
This year’s film adaptation of Sparks’ popular novel, “The Lucky One,” has a plot that not only feels rushed, but also leaves little to the imagination.
The story begins on the battlefield, and is shot from the perspective of Logan, played by Zac Efron (“Charlie St. Cloud”), who is a young marine fighting for his life.
While stationed in Iraq, Logan spots a photograph off in the distance. As he goes to pick up the picture, his camp is bombed and he is left as the lone survivor. A firm believer in fate, Logan sets out on a journey to find and thank the girl in the picture, who he believes to be his guardian angel.
With a farfetched story line, it at first seems as though Logan has a long and dramatic search ahead of him. However, this is not the case.
Instead, Logan’s quest of locating a stranger photographed in an unknown location takes up all of ten minutes, including Logan walking all the way from Colorado to Louisiana.
Although it is apparent that director Scott Hicks intended for this portion of the film to be representative of a much longer time frame, Logan’s ease in accomplishing an almost impossible feat comes off as both ordinary and unrealistic, further lessening the film’s dramatic effect.
The majority of film is clearly focused on Efron’s undeniable good looks. Needless to say, Efron, who has physically bulked up and come a long way from his “High School Musical” days, has yet to mature into an adult character. His depiction of an aloof marine is anything but convincing. Although his character is supposed to suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), he is only skittish immediately after returning to the real world.
Rather than displaying any real emotion, Efron’s reserved character instead takes in everything with a blank stare.
When he does finally show some emotion, you almost wish he hadn’t. For instance, when Logan delivers a dramatic monologue, the result feels much more awkward than heart wrenching.
Sadly, Efron’s costar and love interest, Taylor Schilling (“Mercy”) doesn’t fare any better. Schilling, who plays Beth, a single mother with a hard exterior, is neither convincing nor likable.
Throughout the film, all Schilling seems to do is look longingly into Efron’s eyes.
The most striking aspect of the film, other than Efron’s chiseled physique, is the lack of chemistry between Logan and Beth. The only time the two showed genuine passion for one another was during their love scenes.
For some reason, Hicks thought it was necessary to show as much groping as a PG-13 rating would allow. As a result, these love-making scenes feel drawn out and borderline raunchy.
Then there is Jay R. Ferguson (“Mad Men”) who plays Keith, Beth’s womanizing ex-husband and the self-righteous town sheriff.
Although Ferguson’s performance is convincing enough, unfortunately this villain is stereotypical and has been depicted all too often.
However, unlike other similarly scripted characters, Keith has no charm or charisma whatsoever, leaving the audience members confused as to what Beth ever saw in this dolt in the first place.
The only bright spot in the film was Blythe Danner (“Little Fockers”) who plays Ellie, Beth’s grandmother. Ellie’s persistence in setting Beth and Logan up together provides the film’s few humorous scenes.
In its attempt to more simply adapt the novel’s complicated story line, the film’s plot leaves many gaping holes, making the story, at times, difficult to follow.
For example, immediately upon meeting Logan, before any notion that he is involved with Keith’s ex-wife, Keith already has such an unexplained hatred for Logan that he feels the need to handcuff him for no apparent reason.
Overall, “The Lucky One” fails to depict a realistic and believable romance. With few redeeming qualities, this film is a pretty forgettable watch. The only feature of the film that audience members will vividly remember is Efron’s piercing blue eyes.
— Contact Deana Bellen.