THE LUCKY ONE
Written by Will Fetters
Directed by Scott Hicks
Starring Zac Efron, Taylor Schilling and Blythe Danner
Beth: Why did you come here?
Logan: To find you.
The words, “Based on a novel by Nicholas Sparks” are not usually words that get me into a movie theatre. Actually, they are usually a pretty clear indication to stay away for me. Of the seven films that were adapted from his works, I’ve only seen two up until a couple of days ago. Sure, THE NOTEBOOK is a standout but it seems as if Hollywood has been trying to recapture that magic ever since, with varying degrees of success. I caved on THE LUCKY ONE though and I’m ashamed to admit why. Essentially, I just could not resist my giant, inappropriate crush on Zac Efron. Hopefully, one day soon, I will come to realize that the words, “Starring Zac Efron” should be just as much of a warning to me as the ones I mentioned earlier about Sparks.
Having never read a Sparks novel, I cannot say whether the blame for such an insipid premise is entirely his or untested screenwriter, Will Fetters’ instead. From the moment THE LUCKY ONE begins with an Efron voiceover spitting out cliche after cliche about destiny and following your path and unexpected surprises, it is practically impossible to take anything that follows seriously. Efron plays Logan (no joke), a marine (again, no joke) who finds a picture of a pretty girl in the sand in Afghanistan (or I guess it could be Iraq; there was a desert and they were none too specific in the film), just in time to save him from being too close to an explosion. From that moment on, he sees her as his guardian angel and vows to find her when he gets home (which he does by matching a lighthouse in the photo to others online of course). After a brief and mandatory difficulty with adjusting to civilian life, Logan finds his mystery girl, Beth (Taylor Schilling), but cannot find the words to tell her why he sought her out to begin with. Suffice it to say, complications arise, including a deceased brother who was also a marine and an ex-husband who is an alcoholic, abusive bully (naturally), postponing Logan’s announcement even further, which is where the film loses me. We proceed to spend all this time waiting for him to tell her his story as if it were a bad thing or underhanded. In reality, its a lovely story. Too bad the film doesn’t see it that way though.
THE LUCKY ONE has one true purpose and that is to sell Efron as a romantic leading man for young women (and myself apparently) to swoon over in repeat viewings. If we aren’t fixated on his beautiful blue eyes looking longingly and pensive into the distance, then we are staring relentlessly at his bulging arm muscles while he carries heavy objects on his back or allowing our gaze to travel south when he strips down to the real lucky ones, his underwear. I would almost be ready to buy into it too if he weren’t trapped in this horrible contrived and confused package. I’m afraid Efron’s true fortune (not that he doesn’t have enough already) will only come once Hollywood starts to see him as more than just a pretty boy. I’m not so sure he’s that lucky though.
PS. Shame on you, Scott Hicks. You're an Oscar nominated director!
Thanks for reading.
LUNCH rating is out of 10.
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