Homefront movie
7.25 out of 10
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire movie
8.75 out of 10
Disney's Frozen movie
10.0 out of 10
Delivery Man movie
6.75 out of 10
8.25 out of 10

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Lucky One

Walk A Mile

Rated: PG-13  For some sexuality and violence
Release Date: April 20, 2012
Runtime: 1 hr 41 mins

Director: Scott Hicks
Writers:  Will Fetters, based on novel by Nicolas Sparks
Cast: Zac Efron, Taylor Schillings, Blythe Danner, Riley Thomas Stewart, Jay R. Ferguson

SYNOPSIS: US Marine Sergeant Logan Thibault escapes a deadly attack during his third tour in Iraq when he finds a laminated photograph in the rumble. When discharged, he searches down the woman in the photograph to thank her for inadvertently saving his life.

REVIEW: Director Scott Hicks, known for Hearts in Atlantis and Shine, adapts a screenplay from Will Fetters from "The Lucky One" by the prolific Nicolas Sparks (The Notebook, A Walk To Remember, Dear John)
. One of the more acclaimed writers in recent years, Nicolas Sparks continues to write best-selling novels and those novels continue to make their way to the silver screen.
US Marine Sergeant Logan Thibault (Zac Efron, New Year's Eve) escapes death from a bomb denotation that kills other Marines in the area when he is distracted by a shiny laminated photograph meant for an unknown soldier. After the completion of his third tour in Iraq with other narrow escapes, Logan is discharged and sent state side. After he realizes that he feels incomplete, Logan sets off on foot with his German Shepherd Zeus in search of the woman in the photograph using the lighthouse as his guide. Traveling from Colorado to North Carolina, Logan finds the woman, Elizabeth Green (Taylor Schilling, Mercy), working out of her house with her mother Ellie (Blythe Danner, Little Fockers) running a canine kennel and training facility. Unable to tell Beth about his reasons for finding her, Logan instead  gets himself hired on as a worker at the kennel. Slowly finding friendship with Beth, Ellie, and Beth's son Ben (Riley Thomas Stewart, The Beaver), Logan has to confront his feelings for Beth, the secret of the photograph, and Beth's jealous ex-husband Keith (Jay R. Ferguson, Mad Men).

The name of Nicholas Sparks carries much weight in the big screen young dramatic romance department. Attaching his name to a trailer, mentioning one of his previous movies or one of those films' stars will nearly guarantee bodies in theater seats. Does The Lucky One live up to The Notebook, one of Sparks' best adaptations? According to most probably not, but The Lucky One is grounded and enjoyable.

Scott Hicks directs a decent effort, more enjoyable than expected. Zac Efron, now almost grown up, captures the youth that are currently living and dying in the sands of foreign lands and the haunted haggard veteran that longs for meaning in life after the chaos of war. Taylor Schilling, as Beth, teeters between fear, despair, and hope as she navigates post-marriage difficulties and the loss of her soldier brother. Blythe Danner is exquisite as always, her Nana Ellie radiating wisdom, beauty and charm. Jay R. Ferguson, as the ex-husband Keith, plays the role with equal parts disdain and jealousy. And young Riley Thomas Stewart rounds out the main cast as the son Ben, offering additional levity.

There were several strange occurrences in the film that were utterly distracting to me. First, there were several scenes where the dialogue or motion were too quickly established and felt rushed. For example, when Ben gets upset he runs out of the living room, then is seen seconds later outside at the end of the front yard heading into the woods. Either he is a world class sprinter, or there should have been a little more time between leaving the room and hitting the grass. What the heck? And some of the post voice-over work was a little choppy, distracting me from otherwise decent scenes (personal peeves, sorry).

The story holds up throughout, with Logan harboring a debt of gratitude to Beth for serving as his angel throughout his last tour overseas, desperate to extends thanks to her but unable to find the words. There are great character dynamics in the film, most notably between Nana Ellie and Beth, Keith and his son Ben, and, of course, Beth and Logan. Zac Efron may have been a High School Musical graduate but since I saw him in 17 Again and Charlie St. Cloud I felt he was starting to emerge as a stand up actor in his own right. I look forward to seeing more of his work as he matures.

The Lucky One will entertain you with its scenery and its scene-stealing by Danner, Ferguson, and Stewart. The film will amuse you with some witty banter and silly interaction with some of the kenneled canines, and will finally find its dramatic center about halfway through. There were a couple missed opportunities with Beth's ex-husband as the adaptation tries to remain faithful to the source material, but if you are a huge fan of any of Nicolas Sparks' works, you will find yourself to be one of the lucky ones.

WORTH: Matinee or Rental

No comments:

Post a Comment