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The Lucky One [Movie]

I'm not going to say anything at all about the odds of that happening. The odds are overwhelmingly against anything in any movie happening, so I should just shut up and pay attention. This is yet another love story adapted from a Nicholas Sparks novel, and it has been cast with appealing romantic leads, a snaky villain with a drinking problem, a grandmother with infallible instincts and a lot of adorable dogs. It also has leaves bursting into bright autumn colors, and a lake just right for a couple to steal away for a quiet chat on a rowboat.

The Lucky One [Movie]


Nicholas Sparks has a good line in stories like this. They usually involve the triumph of love over adversity, are usually set in beautiful natural settings, usually involve such coincidences as finding a message in a bottle, and usually make me stir restlessly, because such escapism is shameless. Still, credit must be given to a film that delivers the goods, and if you've ever liked a Nicholas Sparks movie, you're likely to enjoy this one. I've seen him in interviews where he's better-looking than some of his leading men and comes across as sincere. I think he really does believe in his stories, and I think readers sense that.

"The Lucky One" is at its heart a romance novel, elevated however by Nicholas Sparks' persuasive storytelling. Readers don't read his books because they're true, but because they ought to be true. You can easily imagine how many ways this story would probably go wrong in real life, but who wants to see a movie where a Marine leans over to pick up a photo and is blown up? And a mom trying to raise her son and feed lots of hungry dogs while her abusive ex-husband gets drunk and hangs around? That kind of stuff is too close to life.

Okay, so as he holds on to this photo, good things start to happen, like him not dying, so Logan is like ZOMG lucky charm! "I keep not dying even though everyone around me is dying, how lucky is this photo, I better go find her!" So then he finds her. I repeat, he finds her. What?! Ahhh! Stop it! So he went to all the trouble to track down a woman from her photo? More than that, he WALKED from Colorado to Louisiana to track her down cause he "likes" "walking" uh, yeah, okay. And then has shower sex with her without ever mentioning that he is obsessed with her and made a point of FINDING her?! Worse yet, he does things like come over late and night and just kind of stare at her silently with a dumb blank look on his face until he starts just making out ON her. No, I am creeped out. Way to scar someone for life, Zef Logan. Although to be fair, she does ask him why he came there on at least two occasions and both times he does respond "to find you," so chick had warning. S'all I'm saying.

There are multiple montages featuring Zac Efron manhandling dogs. I get it - he is working as a trainer/groomer/whateverer, but how many shots can you have of Zac Efron cuddling dogs in ONE movie, I mean, it's a little bizarre.

The Lucky One was a Nationwide release in 2012 on Friday, April 20, 2012 in around 3,155 theaters. There were 10 other movies released on the same date, including Think Like a Man, Chimpanzee and Jesus Henry Christ.

Blue eyes. Five o'clock shadow. Flannel shirts. Row boat. Sigh. Ya gotta love the casting department for Nicholas Sparks movies. Remember Ryan Gosling in The Notebook? Blue eyes. Five o'clock shadow. Flannel shirts. Row boat. Sigh. It all works. It's a winning formula to sell tickets to chick flicks.

Did you know Taylor, 27, is three years older than 24-year-old Zac? According to the script, Beth and Keith graduated high school together. Yet, Jay Ferguson is ten years older than Taylor Schilling. Hello, casting department. Love the hotties, but come on. I was amazed to discover Blythe Danner is 69. Considering her real-life daughter, actress Gwyneth Paltrow, is almost 40, I was dubious her movie granddaughter could be as old as Beth. Danner's real granddaughter, Apple, is turning 8. Blythe Danner has aged well.

Overall, The Lucky One feels like a made-for-TV movie. The Notebook is superior in storytelling and casting, but The Lucky One has enough luster to whet the appetite of the ardent Nicholas Sparks/chick flick fan.

At the corner of attractive and lonely, there is chemistry. If you're lucky, you might stumble there just in time to meet your soul mate, also attractive and lonely. If you happen to be a young Iraqi War veteran and she happens to be a young single mother with an irascible ex-husband, then you're probably Zac Efron and Taylor Schilling in the movie The Lucky One, based on Nicholas Sparks' romance novel of the same name.

The movie outshines the book, thanks to a well-edited screenplay and an engaging soundtrack, but the plot points are primarily the same. After a night raid, an American soldier named Logan, on his third tour of duty in Iraq, finds a picture in the rubble of a young woman standing in front of a lighthouse. Unable to find its owner, he slips it in his pocket, becoming the "lucky" survivor of multiple bombings and attacks. His buddies think the picture protected him. He's unconvinced.

As chic flicks go, it's a decent story and packs an emotional punch. Destiny, not God, carries it, though, and beyond kindness to others, all destiny requires is that you jump in bed with your soul mate frequently, particularly if you need to fill screen time. This is a PG-13 movie, so there's nothing explicit, but there's plenty of passion and a generous smattering of profanity to mar an otherwise likeable film.

Parents need to know that, like other romances based on Nicholas Sparks novels -- including The Last Song, Dear John, and The Notebook -- The Lucky One is filled with swoony, sentimental moments involving a pair of star-crossed lovers kept apart by their life challenges and personal struggles. Expect some gauzy love scenes (mostly kissing and early stage undressing -- no private parts are seen, though the top of a male backside is visible); infrequent swearing ("s--t," etc.), some drinking by adults, some tense scenes of peril and confrontation, and jarring-but-not-graphic wartime scenes in which grenades explode and soldiers are shot dead. Although the movie means well overall, it does suggest that women need the love of a good man to be able to love themselves.

Those movies boast a complexity that evokes the complications of life on two battlefield fronts: love and war. The Lucky One isn't so lucky (or, rather, well crafted). It's bogged down by hokey dialogue and stilted acting. Efron, who actually has shown some talent, appears to think "wooden" passes for "mysterious" here. Only Blythe Danner, as Beth's grandmother, is unscathed. She's witty and breezy and soulful in all the right moments, and we're lucky for that.

Nicholas Sparks, author of The Notebook, Dear John and A Walk to Remember, is known for his sentimental romances. The Lucky One, a new movie from Warner Bros. Pictures starring Zac Efron, is Sparks' latest novel hitting the big screen.

Expect her random musings to cover both the new and "new-to-her" aspects of Miltowngoings-on, in addition to periodically straying completely off-topic, which usually manifests itself in the form of an obscure movie reference.

Several wounded service members and military families are invited guests to the movie premiere and will also attend the golf tournament and 5K race. Their stories might not be made into a movie, but they are just as inspiring. These families have served together, sacrificed together and in spite of their challenges, they have stayed together.

For good measure, the movie also includes some hambone Hallmark-style narration about destiny and luck and choosing the right path in life, along with a few sun-baked shots of dogs romping through the grass. To call it drivel would be an insult to most drivel, which usually at least has earnestness on its side.

The Lucky One, a new movie staring Zac Efron and Taylor Schilling, is taken from a Nicholas Sparks novel of the same name. It recounts the tale of a Logan Thibault, a Marine sergeant who survives his last tour serving in Iraq because a glint of sun catches his eye in a rubble pile.

No, not the quest for the girl, but the undying obsession with portraying emotions with a montage roll. The movie is just one long montage. There is no probing character portrayal. Dialogue only exists as a conduit toward another montage reel.

Directed by Oscar nominee Scott Hicks (Shine) and adapted by Will Fetters (who wrote the Robert Pattinson movie Remember Me), The Lucky One also features Blythe Danner, Riley Thomas Stewart, Jay R. Ferguson, Robert Hayes, and Joe Chrest.

Full disclosure right off the bat: I was NOT previously a fan of Nicholas Sparks. An author who writes love stories but eschews happily ever after endings will not generally get my vote. And that, I acknowledge, is entirely a personal preference. I offer full disclosure because although I watched the movie (first) and then read the book (because I did like the movie), I admit I was looking for flaws the whole time I was reading. And I think when you are looking for flaws in a book you generally find them. In the end, I found much to like about this book and almost an equal amount to dislike, overall leaving me slightly dissatisfied. Below I attempt to lay out what it was about the book that left me with that feeling.

I will explain all, but must warn of SPOILERS. If you want to read the book or see the movie without my humble opinions coloring your experience, or knowing the ending, or if racy scenes bother you, DO NOT READ ON.

U.S. Marine Sgt. Logan Thibault (Zac Efron) served three tours of duty in Iraq, and he credits his survival to a "lucky" photograph he picked up from the sand after a bloody skirmish with insurgents. It's of a beautiful blonde in front of a lighthouse -- with "Keep safe" written on the back. After showing it to his comrades, none of whom claim ownership, Logan thinks of her as his guardian angel and totes the photograph back with him when he returns to his sister's home in Colorado. 041b061a72

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