Zac Efron’s chiseled abs, the beautiful blonde heroine, steamy shower make-out scene, steamy bedroom love scene… Efron’s chiseled abs… chiseled. abs… (okay, you get the point). Nicholas Sparks’ latest chick flick, The Lucky One, plants these images in front of movie-goers like myself and strings together a plot that pulls at our heart strings and causes adult female viewers to giggle like tweens at Efron’s ridiculously ripped body. But does Sparks’ new movie stir his viewers the way his ever popular The Notebook, of 2004, did? Personally, I think not. But, before you get too disappointed, I believe The Lucky One came nearest to The Notebook’s allure in Sparks’ recent string of novel-made-movies.
Zac Efron plays Marine Logan, who has done three tours in Iraq and is finally home, alive and well, despite cheating death more than once during his wartime duties. He is unsure why he survived when so many of his comrades died, but he feels a picture he found in the dirt before his first near-death experience may have something to do with it. A wallet photo of an attractive blonde woman standing in front of a lighthouse, with “keep safe” scribbled on the back, was like finding “an angel in the middle of Hell” Logan says. With nothing but the lighthouse to piece together the location of this “angel,” he makes his new mission to find and thank her for the hope and safety her picture seemed to provide him.
Logan travels by foot from Colorado to Louisiana and miraculously finds the woman in the picture, Beth (Taylor Schilling), ultimately working for the dog kennel she keeps with her grandmother, played by Blythe Danner. It doesn’t take long before sparks fly between Beth and Logan, but their budding romance soon finds trouble as Beth’s ex-husband, who is also sheriff of the town, threatens to take custody of Beth’s young son, Ben, should she continue the relationship.
These plot complications stall what is otherwise a much-foreseeable ending, but the integrity of the script, with a reasonable dramatic arc and conflict, was sometimes overridden by intermittent cliché, some of them laughable, lines between Logan and Beth. But, fortunately, these extravagant lines pass quickly and rather painlessly, as we are quickly distracted by the tension between Logan and Beth’s ex-husband, in a love triangle that Sparks’ brilliantly creates to make the cheesy “happily ever after” ending not-so-easily attainable.
Overall, The Lucky One provides a love story that is better than the sheer fluff we sometimes find in “chick flicks” such as this one. The story has a heaviness that makes viewers take the film a bit more seriously, and a few twists and turns of the plot may have some of the more emotionally connected viewers coining it as a tearjerker. Females who tend to enjoy a tale of romance and don’t mind a little fluff...and a little of those steamy love scenes with heartthrob Efron, will thoroughly enjoy this movie. And, if you drag your boyfriend to The Lucky One, he will probably find those cliché moments I mentioned earlier a bit too much for him, but with the running time at an hour and forty minutes and a reasonable plot to carry him through, he will find himself unharmed and maybe even a bit charmed at the end of Nicholas Sparks’ latest romance film.