The Lucky One? Its not Zac Efron
By Roger MooreMcClatchy-Tribune News Service | Sunday, April 22, 2012
H ˝ stars (out of five)
Director: Scott Hicks
Cast: Zac Efron, Taylor Schilling, Blythe Danner
Rated: PG-13 for some sexuality and violence
Running time: 1 hour, 41 minutes
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“The Lucky One” is the edgiest-ever film adaptation of the writings of Nicholas Sparks.
Which isn’t saying much.
Yeah, it has the violence of war, and the heat of near-sex. And profanity! Don’t forget the profanity!
But it still has the romance novelist’s favorite tropes – most of them, anyway. There’s a coastal setting where two emotionally damaged people meet, people who might be made whole again, if only they can reveal their deep, dark hurt and find love.
Beth (Taylor Schilling) is a willowy and gorgeous single mom running a kennel with her speak-her-mind/state-the-obvious grandma (Blythe Danner).
Logan (Zac Efron) is a brooding ex-soldier, and chivalrous.
“Isn’t he chivalrous, dear?” granny says, elbowing Beth. And the viewer.
Logan met Beth before she knew it. He found her photo in the dust after a fierce firefight in Iraq. He lost comrades that day, and one of them had her photo. Somehow, Logan manages to track Beth down in Louisiana without knowing whether she lost someone that day, as well.
That’s just the first artificial obstacle to true love that the movie sets up and then skips past, la-di-da, in this easygoing eye-roller of a romance.
He takes a job with Beth without revealing their connection, this photo that he believes saved his life. He charms her, but she’s slow to warm to that even as she’s ogling the backside of his work jeans. He charms granny and Beth’s son, Ben, too.
Director Scott Hicks tries to maintain mystery about Beth and Logan, even though they’re more character types than characters. Hicks and his stars serve up a little random passion, rare for a Sparks adaptation, and a scene or two of real sexual heat.
“The Lucky One,” despite a slow-simmer turn by Efron and a lusty one by Schilling, is still no deeper than Logan’s philosophy of life: “Sometimes, the questions are complicated, and the answers are simple.”
Yeah, he’s quoting Dr. Seuss.