The Lucky One: Just Another Sparks Romance

by Gerard Barter

In the past few years, Nicholas Sparks has become the go-to guy for romance film-makers, and anyone who is planning to go and see The Lucky One should expect to see some familiarities with previous Sparks films. On May 2nd, The Lucky One, hits Irish cinemas.

The Lucky One is the story of an American soldier in Iraq (Zac Efron) who finds a picture which he believes saves his life. When he returns home to Colorado he goes in search of the subject of the photo which has become his lucky charm. Upon finding her, he decides it is somehow better to not tell her of the photo ‘s existence and to instead become involved in her life as a worker at her dog kennel. This is definitely very strange for anyone to do, but of course we all knew walking into this that they would get together somehow so why not draw it out as long as you can.

Although the film isn’t necessarily “bad”, a lot of it feels already done, and at several points during the movie I felt able to predict exactly what would happen next. The characters are written well, but they’re portrayal by the cast is the only thing that made me care about them, a feeling that wanes as the film progresses and the character development seems to go nowhere.

The history of Logan (Efron), the main character, is poorly done and the scene of his return to Colorado just seems weird. It doesn’t fit in with much of the film and I honestly had no idea who his family was until he leaves them to go in search of Taylor Schilling’s character.

The Lucky One progresses the way anyone would expect it to, with Logan fitting in with Beth’s (Taylor Schilling) world and getting on well with her family. Even the antagonist is predictable and causes unnecessary “trouble” with his apparent hold over Beth, which no one with any idea how a romance movie goes should really take any notice of as it is obviously just an obstacle placed there to help eventually drive Logan and Beth together.

When the 90 minutes were over, I was left not knowing what exactly had let this film down. The acting wasn’t at all bad, but it definitely seemed lacking in places and the script was the cause for this. The casting of the lead also didn’t feel right and Zac Efron’s portrayal of a marine back from his third tour in Iraq did not come across well at all. The impact it had was so minimal that at times I forgot that he had been to war. I feel that with a more experienced actor the portrayal of a soldier could’ve been done properly and whilst it is done with some respect in terms of the Iraq scenes, it seems as if it was made a very small aspect of the film intentionally, despite the fact that it is a huge part of the story that the director, Scott Hicks, was trying to tell.

This film seems tailor-made for a romance film lover and without disrespecting that audience, wouldn’t stand up if the lead man was not Zac Efron. Although it tries to be a serious piece, he is the main focus for the majority of those who will see this and on that premise; I found it difficult to concentrate on trying to enjoy the film. I guess in a way having to concentrate on the things that seemed trivial and attempting just to enjoy The Lucky One was its biggest failure and why when it was over, I was thinking more of what wasn’t in the film than what was.

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