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By Jess Fenton
12th February 2013

And so, movie-going audiences are once again about to be assaulted with yet another Nicholas Sparks adaptation - ‘Safe Haven’ makes lucky number eight for Mr Sparks, and lucky for us (take that as you will), this sappy romance writing juggernaut just keeps pumping them out, ensuring that our multiplex will never go long without a Nicholas Sparks original.

The sickly sweet, paint-by-numbers ‘Safe Haven’ starts with a barefoot long-haired brunette (Julianne Hough) covered in blood desperately fleeing a house and seeking sanctuary with her neighbours. Cut to that same woman now blonde with chin-length hair scrambling to board an out-of-town bus with a cop hot on her heels. Our first stop is Southport, South Carolina, a quaint harbour-side pitstop that just so happens to have a general store owned and operated by an easy-on-the-eyes widower named Alex (Josh Duhamel) and his two young children. Katie and Alex both find what they’re looking for in one another - but Katie’s past is fast gaining strength and momentum and could derail the couples' new lives together.


Past Sparks adaptations (including ‘Safe Haven’ director Lasse Hallstrom’s ‘Dear John’) always had a little something that may not have made the film great but bearable, maybe even enjoyable. ‘Safe Haven’, however, is completely unremarkable. The story itself is a poor man's ‘Sleeping With The Enemy’, though the cast do share some chemistry - they're both very attractive. Julianna Hough still reeks of that “fresh off the bus” aroma; appropriate considering in two of her (so far) four feature film credits, she literally gets fresh off a bus, including this one. Josh Duhamel just doesn’t have that gumption, unable to appropriately take on the responsibilities of a leading man, especially the emotional strides needed for such a piece - something Ryan Gosling had in spades, which is what allowed ‘The Notebook’ to become the most popular and acclaimed Sparks adaptation.

Nicholas Sparks filmmakers know their audience, leaving no surprise as to why this film is being released almost worldwide on Valentine’s Day. You should know exactly what you’re going to get - another damn Nicholas Sparks movie. Bring tissues.

RELEASE DATE: 14/02/2013
RUN TIME: 1h 55m
CAST: Cobie Smulders - Jo
Josh Duhamel - Alex Wheatley
Julianne Hough - Katie Feldman
David Lyons - Kevin Tierney
DIRECTOR: Lasse Hallström
WRITERS: Leslie Bohem
Dana Stevens
PRODUCERS: Marty Bowen
Wyck Godfrey
Ryan Kavanaugh
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