THE LUCKY ONE
* (out of 5)
April 20, 2012
Zac Efron as LOGAN
Taylor Schilling as BETH
Blythe Danner as ELLIE
Riley Thomas Stewart as BEN
Jay R. Ferguson as KEITH
Directed by: Scott Hicks
BY KEVIN CARR
Listen to Kevin’s radio review…
Look, I get the fact that I am a cynical dude, which makes me pretty much the opposite of the demographic that the entirety of Nicholas Sparks’ film catalogue is marketed to, but there’s still no excuse for “The Lucky One.”
I can handle the heralded “The Notebook,” the pointlessly complex “Dear John” and even the unnecessarily sappy “The Last Song.” But the laziness of the writing and the complete shallowness of “The Lucky One” is unforgivable. It’s a terrible movie, through and through, featuring nonsensical plot elements, made up legal entanglements and turns of coincidence that would make the writers of “Scooby Doo” blush.
The story follows Logan (a pumped-up Zac Efron), a Marine who finds the picture of a woman (Taylor Schilling) in the rubble of the battlefield in Iraq. After trying to find the owner of the picture, he keeps it with him, and it becomes his lucky charm that saves him through a slipshod montage of dangerous moments. When he returns home, he is determined to find the woman in the picture, so he sets off to meet her and thank her for being his guardian angel.
And that’s all before the opening titles.
The rest of the film consists of him literally walking from Colorado to Louisiana, finally finding her and falling in love. Of course, her ex-husband who also happens to be a sheriff deputy makes things difficult for them. And there’s an annoying kid in the mix as well.
There are certain things I expect from any Nicholas Sparks movie, including wide shots of the southern bayou, plenty of weeping willow trees, unrequited love and a few other things that I don’t want to spoil for anyone who doesn’t know this formula. “The Lucky One” has all of these things in it in the most contrived way possible.
But the worst part of the film is the absolute lack of character found in Logan. He has the depth of Megan Fox’s role in the “Transformers” film, and he serves the same purpose: to look pretty and not say too much.
Logan is a lonely woman’s wet dream: a stalwart, steely-eyed man who has no interest but protecting his would-be lover. More over, Logan is so damaged by PTSD that he can barely function in society, and it’s only the tender love of this woman that can cure him.
I call bullshit on all of this.
I don’t mind a good romance with character development that goes both ways, but there needs to be a reason one character loves the other. I suppose this is payback to all the years that men have objectified women in film over the years, but at least men will admit to objectifying women. From the reaction of people in the audience at this film, they seemed to think this is how all men should act.
And it doesn’t help that Zac Efron can barely deliver his lines. He even tries to use a southern accent at one point, but like Kevin Costner in “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves,” he abandons it after one scene.
There is not a single frame of this film that can’t be predicted ten minutes or more before it happens. In a bizarro world, this would be a deft parody of Nicholas Sparks movies, but here on Earth, it’s just another installment in his crumbling wasteland of cookie-cutter Harlequin romance stories.