The Lucky One

2012-07-16 12:07
 
What it's about:

Logan (Zac Efron) a Marine on this third tour of duty in Iraq survives a night raid in which US soldiers died. The morning after the raid he finds a photograph in the rubble of a beautiful young woman and when his platoon is hit as he walks way to pick up the photo, killing more of his men, he realises that the woman in the picture is his guardian angel and resolves to find her and thank her for saving his life.

What we thought:

Hopeless romantics will be well versed in the soppy, by-the-numbers plotting of a Nicholas Sparks story. The fame and popular acclaim that followed him after his novels Dear John, A Walk Remember, Nights in Rodanthe and, most notably, The Notebook, were made into star-studded Hollywood productions has made him synonymous with a kind of bodice-ripping for the 21st century, complete with epic tales of lost love and destiny, tied together with requisite scenes of kissing in the rain.

It goes without saying that if you’ve watched one movie based on Sparks' novels, you’ve pretty much watched them all. And if you are going to watch just one, it has to be the superlative adaptation of The Notebook. It was a movie with just the right ratio of cheese to heart, and made stars (and real-life lovers) out of Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams.

Which then leads to the next issue in an ever-growing list of problems with The Lucky One – the casting of the romantic pair. The sad thing is that the magic-in-a-bottle moment that was the Ryan-Rachel pairing in The Notebook is the one thing that audiences will be yearning for the most as they watch the beautiful Zac Efron make eyes at the pretty, and older, Taylor Schilling.

Taylor plays the angelic Beth, who lives on a sprawling Louisiana ranch with her son and grandmother, with whom she runs a dog kennel. She’s got baggage to boot – her ex-husband is the bully local deputy sheriff with connections in high places, and her older brother died the previous year in Iraq.

The Lucky One easily passes the first test of placing their eye candy couple in an equally pristine setting and dappling enough sunlight and other attractive light filters to create picture postcard images of their romance, which starts off rocky enough.

But, of course, all the bumps along the road to loved-up bliss are eventually smoothed out because they are both such blandly perfect people. Logan is facing his own demons as he battles through the double whammy of both post traumatic stress disorder AND survivor's guilt but, naturally, the issue of the war itself is treated on a rather superficial level, as Logan recites the usual Marine dictum about brotherhood and leaving no man behind and fighting for a worthy cause.

Though that cause is never elaborated on because the time for a raunchy, heaving sex scene has swung around.

Zac Efron has been primed for the romantic lead role for a long time now and it’s disappointing to note that his first mature role as the damaged Logan may have been too much for him.

When a moment of anguish or fear or hopelessness is required of him, his face can only register frozen listlessness. But those are eyes are so blue, the lack of depth on display here is so easy to overlook, especially when it’s expected anyway.

One area The Lucky One does succeed is in casting a cute, smart little boy – Beth's chess and violin-playing son Ben – who is, magically, not cloyingly irritating. Which comes in handy when the movie’s contrived finale comes crashing through the door like that uncle who always arrives uninvited and on cue during the holidays.

Anyone expecting a memorable tear-jerker or an epic love story will want a refund. But as a competently staged distraction, it’ll work just fine.


Zac Efron is sadly miscast in a soppy and formulaic romance about a Marine who tracks down a mysterious woman in a photograph, whom he believes saved his life in Iraq.
Read more on:    zac efron  |  review  |  movies

Sasha 2012/05/30 5:24 PM
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Not as bad as the Last Song with Miley Cyrus, but still as sappy and overkill as most Nicholas Sparks movies. They can never improve on the Notebook!
Teneale 2012/06/09 4:45 PM
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I think it was an amazing movie in the sense that it send the message that 'Love can just spring up' and in this case save you. Zac Efron played the part perfectly and Taylor Schilling seemed perfect for her role as they both seemed like mature actors and played their roles very well. The only problem would be that it was cliche and someone watching the movie wouldn't really place Zac Efron in the whole army scene.
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