Nicholas Sparks’ ‘The Lucky One,’ Disney’s ‘Chimpanzee’
Nicholas Sparks novels have been turned into movies that give teenage girls a chance to enjoy dreamy teen heartthrobs who prove their mettle as believers in true love. The best one was The Notebook, which gave Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams their first major film roles.
The rest haven’t been so bad (A Walk to Remember, Dear John, Nights in Rodanthe, The Last Song) but they haven’t been so great either. The Lucky One falls right into the same slot, enjoyable in spots, but with a few too many contrivances.
Zac Efron, who took his Disney TV stardom in High School Musical to the big screen in the HSM movie and Hairspray among others, is a worthy Sparks hero. You can sense that the more than competent director, Scott Hicks (best known for the Oscar winning Shine), was trying to cut through the schmaltz and give it a little edge. Nice try Mr. Hicks, but Sparks’ storylines are designed to create tears in the audience and contrived redemption for the hero.
Efron is Logan, a marine who had multiple tours in Iraq. During one battle he found a picture of a beautiful woman and decided to carry it with him. His soldier buddies tell him it’s a good luck charm.
When Logan gets out of the service, he decides to try and find the woman. With a lighthouse as a clue, he begins his journey with his faithful dog Zeus. He walks from Colorado to a small town in Louisiana in five minutes of screen time. The matter-of-fact info that he walked 1,362 miles (that’s the distance from Denver to New Orleans), sounds like a more intriguing storyline than arriving at a small southern town where none of the locals have southern accents.
He finds the woman, Beth (Taylor Schilling) and not only is she available — although her soon-to-be-ex, played by Jay R. Ferguson doesn’t see it that way — she helps her grandmother (Blythe Danner) run a kennel and they are looking for a handyman.
Beth has a son Ben (Riley Thomas Stewart) and of course the two guys bond before Beth is ready to ignore her ex-husband’s threats to take full custody (he’s a sheriff) and take the plunge into romance.
There is always a tragedy is a Sparks novel and this one is particularly weak, since it involves the transformation of the film’s bad guy into a okay guy in a contrived manner in order to pull off the happy ending.
Still with Danner’s husky-voiced wise granny tossing around one-liners and Efron’s puppy dog eyes shown in numerous close-ups, Beth never had a chance to say no to love.
But I did say no to the schmaltz.
Movies have generally been so lousy the past couple of months, the influx of spring/early summer films can’t come soon enough. Matter of fact, The Avengers is kicking off the season this week. Here are 10 movies that I’m looking forward to seeing in May and June
Are you kidding me? It took Kiteman longer to get from the top of Veteran’s stadium to home plate to deliver the first pitch for the Phillies in 1972.
There is no movie review this week because, frankly, the choices went from re-releases (Titanic 3D) to unappetizing sequels (American Reunion) to recycled ideas (Mirror Mirror). Go ahead and tell me it is my job to go see crap movies so I can tell my readers they are crap movies. Point taken.
You know what made The Hunger Games seem even better then it did last week when it was released? It’s the underwhelming fantasy film that hit the multi-plexes this week, the sequel to Clash of the Titans, Wrath of the Titans.
It was Jennifer Lawrence’s fierceness and devotion to family as the memorable Ozark teen Ree in Winter’s Bone that likely showed she had the grit to play the fierce survivalist Katniss Everdeen in the hoped for next big movie franchise, kicking off with The Hunger Games, based on the insanely popular novel by Suzanne Collins.
Joss Whedon, the man behind beloved TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Firefly, has unleashed a ton of unadulterated popcorn movie fun with his marvelous multi-superhero extravaganza, The Avengers. It’s everything you would expect from a comic book adaptation that doesn’t take itself too seriously, and it delivers plenty of action along with an equal amount of superhero temper tantrums.