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By Jess Fenton
15th April 2012

‘The Lucky One’ is undoubtedly a Nicholas Sparks film. It has all the right hallmarks, from its luscious southern setting, sparkling bodies of water, heart-wrenching romance and the inevitable death. Any Sparks fan can’t help but spend the duration of his films trying to pick which character’s not going to make it to the final scene. Nevertheless, Sparks’ predictable formula takes nothing away from the tear-inducing experience his films invoke.

Zac Efron is Logan, a marine returning stateside from his third tour of duty. While in Iraq, the discovery of a photo at just the right moment saves Logan’s life and becomes a good luck charm. The marine pledges to thank the woman in the photo upon his return home. His journey takes him to North Carolina, where Beth (Taylor Schilling) runs a dog kennel. Logan accepts a job there with Beth’s son (Riley Thomas Stewart), grandmother (Blythe Danner) and a disgruntled ex-husband with a jealous streak (Jay R. Ferguson). Romance, male standoffs and tears ensue.


Like most Sparks adaptations, its filmmakers confuse staring off into the distance and long glances for drama. The military aspects of the film seem flimsy and borderline disrespectful in favour of artistic license - odd considering certain moments play a little too patriotic for a worldwide audience.

For a man (and a straight one at that), Sparks writes his women better than his men, leaving them to be either too stoic or too macho. Schilling carries the brunt of the emotion in the story, and luckily she has the skill to pull it off - she’s definitely the stand out of the film.

As an attempt to shake the "tween heart-throb" mantle, Efron’s efforts and intentions may have been solid but unfortunately the results won’t help him. While he may have physically transformed himself for the project, he’s still a beautiful person on and off the screen and the film's steamy love scenes have the 24-year-old move from tween heart-throb to just heart-throb, all grown up.

Efron fans certainly won’t be disappointed.

This film is for women, women and more women. Efron fans certainly won’t be disappointed with the actor's boyish good looks, now with a mature edge. For fans of the director Scott Hicks looking for another ‘Shine’ will have to look elsewhere. This is a romantic drama with all the sentimental trimmings. Not quite the raw, gritty masterpiece we’ve come to expect from the filmmaker, but Nicholas Sparks fans will know what they’re in for, and true to form they’ll get it. Hook, line and sinker this one will melt your heart. Bring tissues!

RELEASE DATE: 19/04/2012
RUN TIME: 1h 41m
CAST: Zac Efron
Blythe Danner
Taylor Schilling
Jay R. Ferguson
Riley Thomas Stewart
Joe Chrest
Jillian Batherson
Courtney J. Clark
Sharon Conley
Russell Durham Comegys
DIRECTOR: Scott Hicks
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