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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

May 8, 2012

The Lucky One Movie Review: Strictly For Hopeless Romantics

IF YOU’RE a Nicholas Sparks fan, you’d know what to expect in “The Lucky One”, a love story reminiscent of Barbara Cartland and our own Precious Hearts Romance. The lead character is Logan, played by “High School Musical” heartthrob Zac Efron in a more mature role. Logan is a Marine fighting in Afghanistan. He finds the picture of beautiful blonde on the ground with ‘Keep safe’ written on the back. As he leans to pick it up, there was a blast that killed other soldiers, but he was spared. He survived other mishaps with it and someone says it must be his lucky charm.

After his tour of duty, he returns to his sister in Colorado but the woman in the photo continues to haunt him so he searches online for the lighthouse behind the woman in the photo and finds it in Hamden, Louisiana. He walks with his dog Zeus from Colorado to Hamden and asks about the woman. She is Beth (Taylor Schilling), a single mom with a 7 year old son, separated from her violent husband and managing a kennel with her grandmother, Ellie (Blythe Danner).

He’s about to tell Beth about the photo but she thought he came to apply for a position as a handyman in the kennel. Beth is initially suspicious of Logan so she wants to reject him but her grandma chooses to hire him. Beth eventually warms up to Logan, who is very good to her son, Ben (Riley Thomas Stewart), whose deputy sheriff dad is not happy to see his ex-wife and son having a new man in their lives.

Well, every love story needs a villain. And many opportunities for the usual “kilig” moments showing the lovers horsing around and making out in the shower. Let’s just say the main love story is well developed for all its worth. Hopeless romantics looking for a good date movie will not complain. Eventually, the conflicts are resolved in a very contrived manner and the obstruction in the path of the lovers is conveniently dispatched in an engineered climax in the storm.

Zac keeps underplaying all throughout the movie, trying to make us forget his days as a musical star. He obviously wants to be taken seriously as an actor, and we think he has more chances of succeeding than “Harry Potter”.

Problem is he’s paired with an actress who looks older than him, so there’s very little chemistry between them. We’re not familiar with Taylor Schilling but even if she looks older, she nevertheless does quite a competent job as Beth. Blythe Danner is very much welcome as the grandma who invests her role with so much warmth.

The movie is helmed by Aussie director Scott Hicks (“Shine”) and he succeeds in making it fulfil its intentions as a heartwarming romantic melodrama told with lyrical sun-dappled cinematography where the actors exchange a lot of meaningful glances and has enough hot but sanitized love scenes that won’t go beyond a PG-13 rating.