The Lucky One
Running Time: 101 minutes
Starring: Zac Efron, Taylor Schilling, Blythe Danner, Riley Thomas Stewart, Jay. R Ferguson
Directed By: Scott Hicks
Rating: 6 out of 10
A U.S. marine sets out to find a lady who unknowingly has saved his life.
Do you have a go to food at a restaurant when you have no idea what to order? I do. It is the Club sandwich. Why do I bring this up you might ask? I bring it up because that is how I feel about Nicholas Sparks books which are adapted to movies. Just like the club sandwich, Sparks’s movies are usually good, occasionally remarkable, and very rarely disappointing. (If that last statement is not up with Tolstoy and Wilde, I don’t know what it is.) The Lucky One is the story of a Marine named Logan. After his last tour of duty, he travels to Louisiana to find an unknown woman who he credits as his good luck charm during the war.
Before we start, let us make the Nicholas Sparks checklist.
1. Great looking leads. Check.
2. Beautiful small town location. Check.
3. Love story with no real world implications. Check
The Lucky One starts off and we see Logan as he patrols the war torn country of Iraq. He finds a misplaced talisman (from an unknown American woman) and believes it saves his life on a number of occasions. After his tour is over, he finds adjusting to life in the real world, tough. So, he drops everything and travels to Louisiana to find the woman (Beth) who has unknowingly saved his life. The buildup is naturally slow as you see how this love story is going to play out. From there, this movie turns into a pretty big sap fest but isn’t unlikeable. It turns out that it is not very easy to tell a complete stranger how you feel (obviously), so Logan takes a job as a handyman around Beth’s farmhouse/dog kennel. The film sees Logan and Beth struggle to coexist. Logan is an introverted godsend, and fixes everything that was long thought broken. Beth is a guarded woman who is annoyed with Logan always being around. It is not love at first sight, but develops slowly over time. Admittedly, the long lingering looks from the both of them are a bit much, but I felt the film captures a love story worth watching. Love and fate are two words that are often tied together. I felt this movie gives the viewer a great look into a very unlikely scenario which encapsulates those two words.
I must admit, the more I watch Zac Efron, the more I like the dude. I think with a little work and some better roles, he might do very well in the business. He plays Logan in this and while he is decent with the role, the character is way too over the top for my tastes. He has a cute dog, he is great with kids, he can fix anything, he works for virtually no money, he never loses his temper, he is good looking, he is polite, he is well read, and he is a perfect Marine. Like seriously, can this guy be flawed just a little? Well, he is a little stalkerish so there is that I guess. Beth is played by Taylor Shilling. I was unfamiliar with Shilling going into this film and I think that works in her favor. She has the emotional range to pull off the role and quickly establishes an easy feel with Efron (pun not intended.) I liked the fact that the two of them are a little bit older which adds a little more realism to the story. It is cool to see them discover love at a more reasonable age than kids in high school. The glaring weak spot in the acting department goes to Beth’s ex husband who is played by Jay R. Ferguson. His character is this obnoxious asshat. He is abusive, a douche, insensitive, and frankly didn’t look the part. His character is unbelievable and only in the film to provide unreasonable forced friction. (I just said forced friction.)
As the film carries on, it delves into topics a little more serious which I liked. Divorce, Coping with the loss of a loved one, and the stress of a raising a child by yourself, are all topics that are touched upon. As Logan and Beth get to know each other a little more, the film is easier to sit through. They explore the beautiful countryside together and they make a good match. Are they perfect for each other? Sure they are. Are they going to end up together? Watch and find out. Love and fate are not always enough to see relationships work, but the journey is worth the risk. In conclusion, this film is not going to blow you away like the Notebook did, but it did connect with me as a simple love story. It is cool how a random item found thousands of miles away can intimately connect two people. Please be warned though, as there are too many cheesy characters, and some odd scenes of confrontations that really held this movie back from being great.
Director Scott Hicks is not a stranger to the romance genre (No Reservations), so it is no shock that he got this movie right. He picked a beautiful location where love stories seem to occur in high frequency. He scored the movie nicely as well, which only enhanced the Beth and Logan chemistry. I liked that he cast people that were lesser known’s to give this movie some more realism. Yes Hicks could have toned down a lot of the cheesiness, but that is hard to do with a Sparks’s book. Good but not great is my final verdict. Also, Google image Hicks and tell me he doesn’t resemble Karl from the first Die Hard movie.
I give this movie a recommendation, and to the ladies out there you have to look at it this way. Even if you hate it, seeing Zac Efron for 2 hours should be a nice compensation for you.
T Factor + If you like romantic movies then this could score higher on the rating scale.
T Factor – If you do not like Zac Efron as an actor then this could score lower on the rating scale.
If you liked this film reel recommendations: The Notebook, A Walk To Remember.