The Lucky One

Directed by: Scott Hicks Written by: Will Fetters (screenplay), Nicholas Sparks (novel)

Starring: Zac Efron, Taylor Schilling and Blythe Danner

A marine (Zac Efron) that collects a glistening photo of a beautiful woman (Taylor Schilling) in the rubble of a fire fight avoids an explosion that would have killed him. For the remainder of his tour he survives some serious 'shit' (so-to-speak) and attributes that to the 'guardian angel' in the photo. Upon his return he seeks her out to thank her. When he freezes up and cannot disclose why he's tracked her down he unwittingly starts working with her.

Director Scott Hicks job is to use the nature sunset hews of the Louisiana woodland and bayous and construct a beautiful backdrop for the perfect blossoming love - which he does quite well. The fundamental error with The Lucky One is that once the characters are introduced - they're both so damned perfect that the obstacles that separate them seem insignificant to the point that I found myself checking my watch immediately saying 'seriously when are they gonna wrap this up ?!"

It's another cinematic adaptation of a Nicholas Sparks novel (who famously wrote The Notebook and Dear John) which means; the male protagonist has to be a returning war hero, with a secret, that is literary (either a poet or just well read), must play a musical instrument well and look exceptional with or without a shirt: and therefore is perfect. Zac Efron is clearly trying to stretch past the type casting that's plagued his youth and he delivers a solid if quite subdued performance as Logan. Unfortunately the time we get with Logan while he's away at war, and on the path to finding this mysterious woman (in one of the great stalker moves of the last decade) is all too short and it doesn't really allow Efron to get to the nitty gritty of the emotional wounds of modern warfare. And by the time he's back the character (in true Sparks form) is simply required to be perfect (and therefore boring).

Taylor Schilling's Beth "the woman in the photo" is a genuine, kind, beautiful and thoughtful person - affected by the proximity of her ex and how that affects how their son Ben (Riley Thomas Stewart) is raised; the fact that she needs to care for her grandmother Ellie (Blythe Danner) and deal with the loss of her brother during the war. Schilling navigates the performance well - but Efron and Schilling have the impossible task of making these two people dramatically engaging in the midst of miniscule obstacles between them.

The Lucky One may not be marketed towards me, but that's not to say that I'm not receptive to a genuinely great love story. And this is not great; it's mediocre fluff that really lacked any punch whatsoever. So the audience for this film is going to be almost exclusively women or women that drag their friends and partners along to swoon. If you like movies that portray, cheesy, perfect romance between and perfect and beautiful people, this is for you. 

[rating=2]

 

BLAKE HOWARD IS A FILM CRITIC & THE EDITOR-IN-CHIEF/CO-FOUNDER OF AUSTRALIAN FILM BLOG GRAFFITI WITH PUNCTUATION . BLAKE IS THE HOST OF THE ONE HEAT MINUTE PODCAST. BLAKE IS ALSO A MEMBER OF THE PRESTIGIOUS ONLINE FILM CRITIC SOCIETY (AND A MEMBER OF THE GOVERNING COMMITTEE), IS A CO-HOST OF GAGGLE OF GEEKS ON SYDNEY'S 2SER COMMUNITY RADIO, A COLUMNIST AT THE AUSTRALIAN ONLINE INSTITUTION DARK HORIZONS AND SWAYS THE TOMATO METER WITH ROTTEN TOMATOES APPROVED REVIEWS.