The Lucky One – Review

The newest Nicholas Sparks adaption is finally here, and though it might fall a little short of The Notebook and A Walk to Remember, it’s still a very fun film. Thanks in large part to Zac Efron, The Lucky One is a cute and memorable piece of fluff.

I have loved almost every Sparks adaption that has been released despite not reading any of the novels on which they are based. I don’t usually like reading the sappy love novels, but the majority of them translate so well into great movies. The Notebook is still my favorite one, though I think I shed the most tears in A Walk to Remember. Also, the less said about Nights in Rodanthe the better, because that one kind of made me want to leave the theater.

The plot in The Lucky One is kind of creative, but obviously paving the way for cookie-cutter romance. Basically, Logan (Zac Efron) is a marine who almost gets killed, but finds a photo of a woman (Taylor Schilling) that saves his life repeatedly. After his time is done, he decides to track the woman down and thank her for saving his life. They fall in love, and sad stuff happens.

For starters, the casting in this is spot-on. Zac Efron has always been one of my favorite up-and-coming actors since that cheesy TV-movie The Derby Stallion, but there’s no denying that many of his roles don’t give him much room to stretch his acting chops. Occasionally there’s an exception or two (see: Me and Orson Welles) but for the most part, Zac usually plays a teenie-bopper facing teenage problems. In The Lucky One, Zac plays a marine with heart, but one who has trouble expressing his feelings or finding the right words sometimes. He is phenomenal with all the facial and body expressions he is forced to exert, mostly because his character isn’t very talkative at all. It’s amazing to see his incredible growth as an actor, and that’s without even mention the very steamy sex scenes in the movie. That shower scene was enough to sustain my interest for the entire movie. Why is he so beautiful?

Taylor Schilling is quite good playing opposite Zac, and though Beth is a bit of a boring character at times, her chemistry with Logan is electric. Spark adaptions always hinge on the chemistry between the two actors, which can either be incredibly convincing (Dear John) or incredibly trite (Nights in Rodanthe). Thankfully, The Lucky One is the more the former, with a slow and amazing build-up that leads to a fully developed relationship. I also rather liked Blythe Danner, who is mostly known for her role in Meet the Parents, as she drives much of the comedy of the movie. Riley Thomas Stewart is where the heart comes in, and as far as movie child actors go, he was insanely adorable.

In the last act of any Nicholas Sparks movie, there is almost always some tragedy or incredibly depressing event that tests the trials of love between the two leads. What surprised me most about this movie was that there is a (mostly) happy ending. There are still plenty of sad things that happen in the movie, but for the most part, things finally end happily for Sparks’ characters. I didn’t even think that was possible!

The Lucky One might be predictable romantic fare, but it is always enjoyable. There wasn’t a single moment where I wasn’t entertained, and while a large portion of this can be attributed to Zac Efron’s performance, it is also quite a good film. While I wouldn’t place it atop my list of best romantic films ever or anything, it is perfectly fun romantic fluff, and it has some major eye candy throughout its duration. Who would have thought Zac Efron would be convincing as a Marine with a cute dog? / Rating: B+

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