It’s closing in on Valentine’s Day, which means along with the predictability of an influx in roses, Hallmark cards and heart-shaped chocolates, come a Nicholas Sparks novel turned big screen adaptation. This will make it Sparks’ eleventh cinematic outing (and counting).
Travis (Benjamin Walker) is a charming yet cocky southern guy who’s never really heard the word "No" pass a woman’s lips. When almost-doctor Gabby (Teresa Palmer) moves in next door, that seems to be all he hears from her. The pair have a shaky start, especially since Gabby already has a boyfriend, Ryan (Tom Welling). While Ryan is away on business for a month, the pair finally give in to their feelings and engage in a passionate love affair. But life’s challenges eventually get in the way of their happily ever after.
Before you ask - yes, there is a scene in the rain. Yes, it’s set in a small stunning harbourside town somewhere in the South. Yes, it’s ridiculously schmaltzy with some cringe-worthy dialogue. Yes, you will cry – ladies, this is a strictly No Mascara affair. And yes, someone did walk out of the screening I attended. It was a man.
I swear, the directors of these films are never handed a script, just a check list, and Ross Katz (‘Adult Beginners’) has well and truly ticked all the boxes. The reason there are 11 of these (almost identical) films is because they keep making big bucks. Tonnes of it. They’re practically a license to print money... and tissues. Kleenex sales skyrocket when one of these bad boys is released! Regardless of what I say or think, droves of women will arrive clutching their best friend or partner, knowing exactly what they’re in for. They’ll all walk out happy and tear-stained and begging the next person they come across to go see it too. I will say this: the cast is pretty and charismatic. Despite the content, no one has embarrassed themselves here, their chops actually keep their heads above water. Shot in Whiteville, North Carolina, it is of course a stunning masterpiece of envy-inducing landscapes and architecture. Did I mention that our hunky leading man plays a vet, i.e. the saviour of animals and he has a dog that he rescued from near death - of course. Cue the panties dropping across the globe.
The directors of these films are never handed a script, just a check list.
Ladies, enjoy. Men, I’m sorry, but these movies are a necessary evil. Happy Valentine’s Day, y’all.