The latest Nicholas Sparks novel-turned-film, “The Lucky One,” opened Friday (April 20) to less-than-stellar reviews from critics, but that probably won’t deter fans of Sparks — not to mention fans of star Zac Efron — away from theaters.
Efron plays a Marine returning from Iraq with the one thing he credits with keeping him alive — a photo of a woman named Beth (Taylor Schilling), whom he doesn’t even know. The two meet, and naturally sappy romance follows.
The Washington Post’s Ann Hornaday writes that the film is a “tepid, inert enterprise … devoid of genuine tension, conflict or combustible chemistry between its two stars.”
While Elizabeth Weitzman of the New York Daily News thinks that the film feels like “a wasted opportunity,” going on to say that director Scott Hicks “is way out of his element. He hits the beats — lonely woman, hunky stranger — without bothering to develop even the slightest depth.”
The New York Times’ A.O. Scott, however, concedes that the film is directed “gracefully enough,” but “if realism is what you’re after, you’ll do better at ‘The Three Stooges.’ ‘The Lucky One’ is where you will find death, redemption and kisses in the rain.”
Veteran reviewer Leonard Maltin pretty much sums things up, though, with his final take: “Like its two personable stars, ‘The Lucky One’ is easy to watch, and just as easy to forget. But if you’re a sucker for romantic yarns it’s an agreeable-enough piece of escapism.”
Will you go see “The Lucky One”?