|Image: Warner Bros.|
Another day, another Nicholas Sparks novel adaptation. This time it's The Lucky One, starring Zac Efron - a movie that has Efron clearly trying to prove himself as a credible actor and, dare we say it, a man. Most of his movies up until now have pretty much seen him shake his tail feather and sing up a tween storm, but for this role Efron was eager to embody the character and go that extra mile so, like men do, he bulked up to aid his performance, and on his recent global tour to promote the film he was keen to show the world his skills in the bra removal department, on several occasions. I'm not sure if "men" do that, but anyway....
In the film Efron plays Logan, a U.S. marine who has just completed three tours in Iraq. Back home in Colorado things aren't quite how they used to be so Logan sets off on a journey to find himself, and a mystery girl from a photograph he found in the ruins at war; a photograph he believes kept him alive.
For better or worse you know what you're getting with a Nicholas Sparks film. Thanks to the seven previous adaptations, the scene had already been set for The Lucky One before even entering into a cinema, and even before the release of a trailer. So whether a Sparks movie is going to score big at the box office has nothing to do with what we say, and really depends on your love for this generic formula, and the appeal of the film's lead actors.
Playing Efron's mystery lady/lady love is newcomer Taylor Schilling, who actually fairs pretty well in this considering neither actor is given much to do: Efron spends most of the time walking up and down what appears to be the same street while Schilling, although with the added responsibility of looking after a child, spends half the movie pretending she doesn't like the wandering marine. The whole story is not really that plausible so with that in mind the actors do alright. The kid, we might add, is played well by the least annoying child actor we've seen in a while, Riley Thomas Stewart (The Beaver).
Unfortunately, this is not the movie that's going to propel Efron into the man's world he so craves, but we've seen him in enough movies, including Me and Orson Welles, to know that it's more the scripts that are preventing him from reaching his goal, not him.
Fans of The Notebook, Dear John and all other Nicholas Sparks adaptations will most likely enjoy this latest offering, but for everyone else, the movie is as you would expect it to be: sentimental, predictable and a bit bland.