Directed by: Scott Hicks
Starring: Zac Efron, Taylor Schilling, Blythe Danner
It’s no secret that Nicholas Sparks knows how to tug at his intended demographic’s heartstrings. By demographic, I’m of course referring to the young girls who buy into the same trite, repetitive drivel that does what it does effectively, meaning tears will inevitably flow as Boy A meets Girl B prior to a mildly tumultuous relationship that always ends up working itself out. The events that transpire in between are as inconsequential as you’d expect, and it’s apparent now more than ever that Sparks and his presumed Cracker Jack team of ghost writers might actually have a hat full of ideas they draw from in an attempt to produce the next obvious cash grab, piecing them together haphazardly to unintentionally procure the most eye rolls-per-minute.
I know that a film is a film through and through, and to judge something like this based on the principles one would use to judge anything more substantial is, well, silly. That being said, I decided to view Scott Hicks’ The Lucky One with an open mind just to leave the theater thoroughly unimpressed; my girlfriend hating it even more than I did. When you get down to brass tacks, it can be agreed upon that any sort of predictability can be overlooked if a story’s engaging enough. Unfortunately, this sap doesn’t even come close to fitting that description, spoon-feeding us every tiny bit of character development like Dr. Seuss would whimsy to a five-year-old. Efron’s Logan’s reasoning behind quite literally stalking his supposed “guardian angel” is far from excusable, using his military veteran status to magically absolve him from appearing to be at all alarmingly creepy.
Logan routinely falls into the good graces of said angel, her grandmother and wise-beyond-his-years young son while catching the eye of archetypal policeman lunkhead Keith, a.k.a. the over-privileged mayor’s son and father of Beth’s child. The young vet is (of course) harassed at regular intervals by said lunk, performing enough random acts of kindness to satisfy any felon’s community service requirement ten times over. Just as the two titular lovebirds kindle their foreseeable relationship, things go south as the truth behind his impromptu near-cross-country trek is revealed by just the guy you’d expect to fulfill said duties.
All things considered, just about every minute of this film of is as bland, boring and cliched as can be, only when paired with other films of its type (Sparks-inspired schlock especially) it still falls short. Cheap attempts at technical proficiency come in the form of shooting everything against the backdrop compiled almost solely of a sunset, not once succeeding in distracting us from the thoroughly uninteresting attempts at tearjerkery The Lucky One just about vomits into our laps during its final moments. Despite my utmost respect for Efron and my hopes for his presumably bright future, he should probably separate himself from the niche he’s recently settled into considering how frequently this type of thing disappoints, i.e. 2010′s Charlie St. Cloud. Again, I know what cloth these films are cut from and I’ve learned to take them for what they are, however this entry’s intentions are too embarrassingly transparent given its pretty cast, recycled narrative and questionable, if sparse plot intricacies. To be frank, The Lucky One is far too implausible and cloying to be considered a worthwhile companion to the likes of similar adaptations and, as a whole, is strangely devoid of human emotion despite the emotionally taxing nature of the characters respective lives.