The Lucky One (2012)
Dir: Scott Hicks
Nicholas Sparks is at it again!
This is the 7th Sparks novel to be adapted into a film, and there was another ‘Safe Haven’ released last month, and another two in production to be released within the next two years. The man is a romantic movies legend.
‘Te Lucky One’ sees Zac Efron as Logan, a marine who finds a photo of a pretty girl while on tour in Iraq, picking it up keeps him just out the range of an exploding bomb, and then he manages to escape a few other close calls, coming to view this girl as his guardian angel of sorts. Back in the U.S. he goes in search of her thanks to the clue of a local landmark he can see in the photo. Finding Beth (Taylor Schilling) he ends up working for her at the kennels she runs with her grandmother (Blythe Danner) and befriends her young son, which doesn’t go down well with Beth’s cop ex-husband.
All the key elements are there for a classic Nicholas Sparks romance.
I’m not completely immune to the charm of these stories myself, I’ve seen ‘Dear John’ and ‘The Last Song’, I also own ‘The Notebook’ on DVD and have seen it a few times. My personal favourite has to be ‘A Walk to Remember’ which I have seen so many times that I know most of the script verbatim, as well as all the lyrics to the really superb soundtrack. They’re excellent movies to watch with girls, they love them.
Critic Mark Kermode has ‘The Lucky One’ as his favourite Sparks adaptation, but I think that’s probably got a lot to do with his love of ‘Zefron’. It does work quite well however, with lead characters that are just a little older than the teens that so often take the focus, and may appeal to an audience who are at least in part a little older than teenagers too.
There was something of a weakness here too however, in that though there are plot elements that do try to get the audience sympathising with the lead couple and feeling close to them, I don’t think enough of that is done through their time together and the romance between them itself. Much makes use of their backgrounds and past history before they even met, so though we may empathise with their separate characters due to their experiences and losses, the viewer is not drawn into loving them as a couple together enough, such as you are in something like ‘The Notebook’.
This is still bound to work perfectly well as a ‘chick flick’ or date movie, Sparks cannot fail, but I doubt it will have quite the legacy for repeat viewings as ‘A Walk to Remember’ or ‘The Notebook’, and is unlikely to become an essential part of every girls movie collection.