It’s pretty tempting to just go into autopilot mode for a review of a film shamelessly aimed at the female demographic. THE LUCKY ONE is nowhere near a movie designed to satisfy the vast majority of male viewers- many of whom won’t be seeing it to begin with but still for any guy attending the film with their significant other. As a member of the latter half of those two halves of the male audience and from my perspective I can’t tell any guy also in my shoes that you’re going to leave the theater pleasantly surprised except for the fact that maybe you’ll tell people it’s not completely unwatchable. It is however everything I imagine the female demographic wants to see in a romance movie even if they’ve likely seen it countless times before.
Based on the book of the same title by Nicholas Sparks the film stars Zac Efron as Logan in a performance that I can only describe as robotic as a marine home from battle where he found a picture of a girl that he gives credit to for saving his life on several occasions. Once home he seeks out the girl, Beth (Taylor Schilling), to tell her thank you. Once there though he can’t find the words so he takes a job at her dog grooming/training business and naturally has no problem finding all the right words to get her all hot and bothered for me him.
I mentioned Efron’s robotic performance, which I don’t entirely think is his fault so much as it is direction given to him to be eye candy for the female audience who just want to ogle his body and don’t want him to say too much to ruin the fantasy. When he does talk it’s always the perfect thing girls want to hear that make their hearts melt and cue the “Awww” moments. That’s about all the film is, just everything a girl wants from a romantic comedy that’s light on any real interesting confrontation and heavy on the romance that Sparks has been spewing out for years operating just as much in autopilot mode only altering the route ever so slightly to make the premise different enough so as not to plagiarize himself.
THE LUCKY ONE is full of beautiful scenery with good looking people walking through and around it, but the script offers little in terms of conflict. There are scenes that build with a promise of an interesting scene between characters and then backs down as though its worried it will be too harsh for the target audience and wants to get back to the warm fuzzies before they go too far. That’s perfectly fine for the film’s target audience, but for anyone going for brownie points with their better half will likely check their watch more than once.
For all the talent involved even though it is just one more quick cash in for one of Sparks’ novels it still could have aspired to be more to not alienate the testosterone filled moviegoers. It’s a romance film designed to make the girls swoon so it should come as no surprise to most including me to what I was in for and I’m not foolish enough to sit here now and say I was expecting something to knock my socks off. Sure there are moments here and there that appealed to my softer side, but nothing enough to ever win me over.
For all the vile hatred many will likely speak about a film like THE LUCKY ONE there’s always that handful that will take the film for what it is. I am hyper aware that the film doesn’t need my seal of approval just as the studios don’t need it to green light an adaptation of another Sparks’ romance heavy books. If I could rattle off the fact that the film fails on every level I would, but as it stands while nothing is stellar the performances are not bad just seem a bit restrained, the cinematography and there are some very heartfelt moments. The script is where the film fails, trading extended interactions for brief moments of quotable phrases fit for a chocolate covered Valentine’s Day fortune cookie. THE LUCKY ONE is a film for the ladies in every way shape or form, but I still have to say that they could do better. In fact there’s a little room in the back of certain video stores with DVD’s that could really get the passion flowing over the weekend- they just won’t have Zac Efron shirtless in skin tight jockeys.
Written By: Luke (@CrummyLuke on Twitter)