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4/23/2012 9:01:00 AM
MOVIE REVIEW: The Lucky One a soapy tale with unconvincing leads
Taylor Schilling and Zac Efron in the romantic drama The Lucky One.Alan Markfield/Warner Bros.
Taylor Schilling and Zac Efron in the romantic drama The Lucky One.

Alan Markfield/Warner Bros.

David Kanowsky
Kudos Movie Critic, The Movie Man

The Lucky One is a filmization of the Nicholas Sparks novel of the same name. When Sparks's novel, "The Notebook," became a movie it was a lot better than the book. The story was very well told and the stars were great. The same is not true here with The Lucky One.

It is the story of Logan, a young Marine who has served three tours in Iraq, narrowly escaping death in each tour. In one instant, he spots a photograph in the rubble of a battle site. When he goes to pick it up, a bomb explodes behind him and he is now just far enough away to survive the blast. The photo of a young lovely woman has essentially saved his life.

Logan returns home to Colorado and is troubled by his war experience and haunted by the photograph. He sets out to find the girl. The only clue he has is a lighthouse in the photo that seems to have a unique shape. He turns to the Internet and does find her in North Carolina.

Beth, her mother and her young son, Ben, have a kennel business. Logan has a shepherd dog that is devoted to him. Beth has been advertising for a handy man and she presumes Logan is an applicant. He is unable to reveal his real mission. He takes the job and while Beth is suspicious of this strong silent man, her mother likes him. Logan proves to be a great help and Beth begins to accept him as a helper, a friend, a companion for her son and eventually her lover. Her ex-husband, Keith, the local sheriff, is not happy. He is hostile to Logan, but Logan manages to ignore him.

The Lucky One is soap opera at its most basic and at its least compelling. Every character in the film is perfect. Beth (Taylor Schilling) is beautiful, intelligent and admired by everybody in the town. Logan (Zac Efron) is handsome, strong, brave and never steps out of line with Beth or anybody else.

The young Ben (Riley Thomas Stewart) is lovable and bright. He plays the violin and is very good at chess. And to enhance the perfection of the film, Logan plays the piano and helps Ben with his music. Even Logan's dog is perfectly behaved and meticulously trained. Beth's mother (Blythe Danner) is sweet and wise. The ex-husband, Keith (Jay R. Ferguson) is a perfect bad guy, without a reasonable bone in his threatening presence. All of these perfect characterizations make The Lucky One totally predictable as it moves from scene to scene, or more precisely, anecdote to anecdote, with trite dialogue.

A significant drawback in The Lucky One is that the two leads are unconvincing. If only they were better actors, there might be a chance at credibility here. Efron, especially, leaves a blank picture of Logan. He is stone-faced and silent much of the time. But he does not convey, so we do not feel, the inner turmoil he is suffering from the war and the secret he is keeping from Beth.

The Lucky One is playing at Harkins Sedona 6 Theater.

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