The Lucky One (2012) ★★★☆☆
|A Marine travels to Louisiana after serving three tours in Iraq and searches for the unknown woman he believes was his good luck charm during the war. (IMDb)|
I spent most of my Christmas night this year in bed, strapped down beneath the covers by the resolve to do nothing. It turned out to be much harder than I thought. I begun to float in a mental pool of self-loathing, and my thoughts screamed release from the madness that is my mind. And that is where the beautiful art of cinema intervened. I’d grabbed the remote control and flicked through random channels on TV before settling on one. The Notebook was on. A personal favorite (it is to most girls my age). From then on, what I’d planned for to be (possibly) my first night of non-Christmas-celebrations descended into a marathon of smushy romantic dramas, one of which is The Lucky One.
When the movie started, I prepared myself to witness 101 minutes of another cheesy romance with a bittersweet ending, the latter being a common element in Nicholas Sparks’ novels. Having not read the book, I didn’t know what exactly to scale the movie against. The Lucky One didn’t meet my expectations of what I had assumed it to be though. It beat them, just by a little bit.
Logan (Zac Efron) is a strappin’ young Marine. During the war in Iraq, he stops to picks up a photo of a young woman that he spots in the rubble. This very action saves his life as seconds later, an explosion goes off where he’d stood before. Feeling indebted to this mystery woman, who he believes to be his ‘guardian angel’, he sets off to find her. *Cue the beginning of a predictable, yet watch-worthy romance*
We soon discover that his guardian angel is an attractive woman named Beth (Taylor Schilling) who lives with her grandmother Ellie (Blythe Danner, and probably my favourite character in the movie) and son Ben. They run a dog kennel, and Logan, who finds it difficult to tell her the truth behind his being there, ends up working for them (of course he does). At this point we all think ‘time for Logan to lay out those moves and get the girl’, right? Not so simple. Turns out Beth has this jealous and abusive, crazy ex-husband named Keith (Jay R. Ferguson) who ends up being the not-so-great villain of the movie. The last thing he wants to see is Beth with the new guy in town, and he pretty much tries to get in their way throughout the film by threatening to take their son away from her.
A pretty standard storyline for a love story. You’ve got the handsome hero, damsel in (emotional) distress, the wise mentor and the villain. But the simple message that almost all Nicholas Sparks’ books/movie-adaptations end up showing is that love will prevail. Love always prevails. The Lucky One is yet another display of this message, with subtle hints of how fate can play a role in leading you to your significant other.
It was a good movie on the whole – sporting mixed reactions on my part ranging from appreciative sighs and awhs through to questioning frowns and at one point ‘where’s the nearest book to bang my forehead against’?
The plus points include the beautiful scenery and setting of the film. The landscape shots shown were truly amazing, and the parts where we join Logan’s character on his occasional walks were pleasant to witness. The soundtrack also added to the emotions that the characters were trying to portray, if not filling in for the role that a great script should have played. Zac Efron’s acting in this was superb and it was nice to see him grow out of his famous role as a boyish high-school stud in HSM to a Marine, out of the war zone now but in a battle against his own demons. The sexual tension between Logan and Beth was also very well done before finally granting release to the much-excited viewers with unf-worthy scenes such as this one.
However, the movie on the whole was very predictable. I had several moments where I felt like clapping myself on the back for guessing right on how things would turn out. Additionally, the lacklustre portrayal of the characters, apart from our lead Logan, was a let-down. I especially felt like there could have been more added to Keith’s character to make him a better villain in the story. Although he has his moment of redemption at the end of the movie, it wasn’t enough. They could have dedicated more time to building the characters up to make them come off as more convincing than focusing mainly on just Beth and Logan’s love storyline.
There’s also one more thing that bugged me and though it’s a minor detail, I cannot not mention it.
How can someone travel all the way from Colorado to Louisiana by foot and look so effortlessly handsome as Logan does when he shows up at Beth’s farmhouse? I mean, come on! Realistically, the guy’s got to have at least a little bit of dirt and mud on him but nope. The lead just has to look perfect instead. It is a movie after all, I should have expected that.
All in all, I give The Lucky One a 2.5/5 stars. It was an entertaining watch, and definitely less cheesy than I thought it would be. My comments on the movie are in no way to be related to the book which I am yet to read. I find that most movie-adaptations never meet the awesomeness of the novel from which they are based upon. But I am yet to find out if that’s the case with this film as well.
Although I’m not a believer of fate anymore, it’s nice to think that there might be some unstoppable force out there that will lead us to finding our soul mate, the way The Lucky One made me feel. And also prevent you from being blown-up/run over/something equally unfortunate.
On a serious note; the movie is worth a watch. And if what I’ve said in this review makes you think ‘nah’, then at least watch it for this piece of eye-candy:
(You know you want to.)