Friday, I had a date with my mama. Up until then, I was proud to say I had neither read nor seen anything associated with Nicholas Sparks. I don’t really like all that kissy, kissy, smoochy, smoochy stuff unless there’s comedy and nothing that will make me cry. Then they had to go and cast my dear Zac Efron in The Lucky One. And make him a Marine! Okay, that was enough to get me there (As reviewer Tal Rosenberg on Rotten Tomatoes said, “As long as Efron’s shirt comes off, he could play an accountant and no one in the target audience would care,” and I’m part of that target audience). I must be a cynic because I feel like I say this much too often when it comes to movies but this one surprised in that I really, really liked it (as in I haven’t shut up about it all weekend).
It’s Nicholas Sparks so I’m sure you get the idea that it’s a love story and the two main characters fall in love, chaos ensues that tears them apart, and OMG! they get together at the end. Nothing surprising, right? A little more specific–Logan is a Marine on his third tour. A night raid goes down and some people are killed. He finds a picture of a girl and keeps it. He survives a lot of stuff that he shouldn’t and attributes his survival to the picture. He comes home, suffers some PTSD, goes to find the girl…well, you get the picture. So let’s start analyzing.
As far as story goes, it wasn’t anything special. Like I said, it’s pretty predictable since it is your typical romance movie. I haven’t read the book (I’m sorry to say that I might but I’m still fighting it) but I have heard that it’s pretty different. I don’t have any expert knowledge here but I’m going to guess based on my experience with books and movies and go with, yeah, they’re different. Either way, the story is still cute and worth the entertainment value alone.
Now, to get to my main reason for going (And, no, sadly there was no butt shot of Zac like there was Taylor in John Carter). Zac did really well. As a lot of my friends and family put it, he was finally a man. He wasn’t Troy Bolton anymore. He mentioned on the Today Show (or one of those shows) that he put on weight and worked out as if he were actually a Marine while shooting. Well, he should keep doing that because the boy looked good. As far as acting went, there wasn’t much talent necessary. Logan is pretty brooding and quiet. Zac pulled off the PTSD well. Even before they explicitly have a seen to prove it, you can just kind of tell (I knew as soon as his nephews were playing a shooter game that it was coming). He was just sort of that quiet, polite, mysterious guy. But, we all know, it was no surprise that Beth would fall for him.
Speaking of Beth, I absolutely loved Taylor Schilling. She was real and very pretty. I like her because she isn’t overly skinny like we always see in Hollywood (Maybe, I relate because she’s got a little bit of a pooch and she’s flat chested, whatever). I loved her clothes throughout the entire film. They were true to the place and character. Her character took a little bit more talent to pull off. Beth is leery of Logan because she’s got an ex-husband who still controls her life and who always threatens to take away their son. She had to pull off falling for Logan while still wanting to keep her son safe. And she did it well. When she finally got the guts to stand up to the ex, you just saw this transformation from trapped to in charge.
As far as the chemistry between Zac and Taylor, it was really good. I don’t really think this should be an issue because they are both good looking so that would be believable. And, as far as I can tell, they are both really nice people so there is not issue in getting along. Since they both played their character well, the romance between them was believable. I’m still one for thinking that Troy and Gabriella never really worked so it was nice to see Zac with a female lead that seemed real (I was Team Sharpay). The only issue we could come up with between the two leads was the Zac just looks so young compared to everyone else. He will turn 25 in October, which is how old Logan said he was. Taylor will turn 28 this year. I know that’s not a big difference (It’s less of a difference than me and Michael) but Zac looks young for his age. I’m still pretty sure he could pass for 18 if he shaved and lost the Marine workout weight (Please don’t). The addition of the weight and his very cute beard helped but he still seemed young–especially when Jay R. Ferguson, the actor who played the ex-husband, will turn 38 this year and he was supposed to be Beth’s high school sweetheart. The acting made the plot believable but the looks took away some of the credibility. However, the story was cute enough for the suspension of disbelief so I think it won out.
There is one little thing that stuck out to me that has bugged me this entire time and that I am being really critical about. Near the end of the movie, right after the big kiss comes (If I’m remembering right), there is a cut to black that just does not work. I know they had to transition between scenes but I think a dissolve or just a hard cut would have worked better. There’s was no dramatic need for the cut to black and, at least, the dissolve would have shown a passage of time, which I think they were going for. But, whatever. I’m sure I’m the only weirdo who noticed and I’m just a detail-oriented person.
I did see a review from a guy on Fandango who mentioned the budget of the movie. I can’t remember the right term for it at this moment but you didn’t really see how the budget was spent. There were really no special effects because they weren’t needed and there weren’t that many different sets needed. He said that it could have been made as an TV movie but I think there was a little more on-screen value that a TV movie. The camera work was good and the quality was good. We just didn’t see where the budget was spent like we do in action movies, for example.
Like most movies, I’m seeing that the general public is saying go–especially if you are a girl–and that the critics are saying otherwise. On Fandango, it’s an audience says go, critics say no scenario. Rotten Tomatoes is giving it a 20% on the Tomatometer with the audience giving it a 74%. IMDB has it at 5.6 stars out of 10. I’d give it a little higher just for the chemistry between Taylor and Zac alone but not much higher. It’s perfect for a date of any kind–whether it be mama and daughter or boyfriend and girlfriend (Plus, in this case, I’m sure you’re girl will be pretty happy seeing Zac look so good). From everyone I’ve talked to, we’re saying that it’s the only thing we wanted to see in theaters and we were happy seeing it. I didn’t really see much else I wanted to see except maybe Think Like A Man. I say it’s worth the money and will keep you entertained for the two hours.