By Lauren Cohen
Author Nicholas Sparks has mastered the art of the chick flick. As the writer of female favorites such as “The Notebook” and “A Walk to Remember,” he has the genre down to a foolproof formula: eye candy male lead, lovely North Carolina scenery, a heavy dose of romance, and tears galore. His newest book-to-film adaptation, “The Lucky One,” is no exception, and will most likely satisfy its target audience – even if the excessive cheese and melodrama will have them stifling back snickers behind their swooning.
Zac Efron plays Logan, a Marine who credits his survival in Iraq to a photo of a beautiful blonde woman he found on the ground after a firefight. After numerous brushes with death, Logan finally finishes his third tour, and sets out to find the woman in his “good luck charm” photo.
This is Efron’s movie, if for no other reason than he’s the main subject of the countless filler shots – as a woman though, I can’t complain. Efron has these wonderfully communicative eyes, which give added depth and sincerity to the character of Logan, whom Efron plays as pensive, soft-spoken, and charming. When he gets to the small North Carolina town of Hamden, he meets Beth (Taylor Schilling), the woman in the photo. Unable to tell her the real reason he’s there, he ends up taking a job at her family-run kennel. Needless to say, sparks fly.
There’s not much to the story; like the book, “The Lucky One” is about the dynamics between all the different characters. Beth and Logan. Logan and Beth’s son, Ben. Beth and her belligerent cop ex-husband. The problem with the film is that there’s no real script to work with — there’s actually not very much dialogue in the movie at all, for that matter. Most of Logan and Beth’s relationship is established by many a heartwarming montage – all of which are adorable, don’t get me wrong – but a few more substantial scenes never hurt anybody.
That said, the scenes that delivered the goods encompassed all that is cherished in Sparks’ past hits. When Logan and Beth share their first kiss, the chemistry between the two is tender and palpable. I started to sink into my chair, swimming in the utter romance that was before me – and then came the horrifically misplaced line: “You should be kissed every day, every hour, every minute.” Moment killed.