Director: Scott Hicks
Writer: Will Fetters
Cast: Zac Efron, Taylor Schilling. Blythe Danner and Riley Thomas Stewart
Studio: Warner Brothers

Sgt. Logan Thibault was saved by a photo in Iraq. He traces the photo back to a young lady in North Carolina that’s running a dog kennel. He meets her son and grandmother, as he tries to piece together why he found her photo. The problem with this is that her ex-husband is the local sheriff. If that wasn’t enough, he’s also the son of the town mayor. Logan now has a new fight as he tries to protect his new lady love from the sins of her past. Cue the dramatic music, long meaningful gazes and pointless Sparks exposition. You know what you’re getting by now, as every Sparks flick has been a bastard cousin of “The Notebook”.

The film slowly moves into “A Small Town in Texas” territory, but it pulls back at the right moment. The right moment being the point before there are bloody shootouts and callbacks to 70s drive-in cinema. I wish I could say there was some purpose to showing how serendipity can save a life or the power of coincidence. But, this is a formula movie about using tired housewife archetypes to make a Spring release. If this was any lazier, Tyler Perry would’ve shown up in drag halfway through the movie.

While I’ve written off most Nicholas Sparks adaptations, this film almost puts a toe into later Roger Corman territory. There’s something to be said for that, but I guess you can’t find pleasantries in unintended realizations. The film will be forgotten and dumped into Wal-Mart DVD dumpster bins alongside “A Walk to Remember” and “Dear John”. While I admire how Sparks was able to change careers and make a cottage industry that profits off dumb people, I still can’t call what he does worthwhile. I mean, he only made one movie where Richard Jenkins played a retarded guy. “The Lucky One” suffers from this lack of oversight.

RELEASE DATE: 04/20/2012


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