The Lucky One
The Lucky One, based on a Nicholas Sparks novel, is exactly what you expect from the trailers – a cookie-cutter romance. Efron plays Logan, a Marine recently returned from Afghanistan who randomly decides to seek out the girl from a picture he found while on his tour of duty. Efron did an amazing job with some pretty weak material, so I can’t fault him very much in the role. Taylor Schilling portrays Beth, the woman in the photograph who has some terrible personal circumstances that include a jerk for an ex-husband, a sick grandmother, a young son, and a brother who has recently been killed serving as a Marine.
The best parts of this film are the secondary characters: Beth’s son, her grandmother, and Logan’s dog. They provide some much needed levity and comedy, particularly Blythe Danner as the grandmother. Pretty much any time she was in a scene, I ended up laughing, which almost makes up for a majority of the film.
The plot has a lot of layers to it that were hinted at but not really expounded on, such as the inherent closeness of a small Southern town and the PTSD that Efron’s character clearly struggles with in the first 10 minutes of the film but mysteriously vanishes with no explanation. The Lucky One ends up feeling as if the director couldn’t figure out what to cut from the novel’s plot and tried to do everything, including some somewhat awkward and overdone sex scenes. They were almost laughable given the music, lighting, and film style used.
About halfway through the film, I kept looking for signs that the film would end. Despite being on par with other romance genre films, it still felt like the story would never conclude. The Lucky One has some moments that I enjoyed. And then there are moments that I wish I had never seen. Depending on your taste, this may be one to enjoy at home with some wine and friends to mock it with.