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“The Lucky One”
Rated PG-13 for some sexuality and violence
Runtime: 101 min
Release date: April 20
Rating: Typical Nicholas Sparks
In “The Lucky One,” Zac Efron (“New Year’s Eve”) plays a U.S. Marine named Logan who comes across what could be a lifesaving good luck charm — a mysterious photo of a woman.
When his third tour of duty ends he returns to the United States. Not really knowing what to do with himself, Logan goes on a quest with Zeus, his German Shepherd to find the woman in the photo.
Because this is based on a Nicholas Sparks book, (“The Notebook,” “Dear John”) you can guess two things right off. When Logan finds the woman, she is living by water and the story centers on grief and death.
Sparks really needs to add variety to his writing. Sure, the characters and situations change but the stories usually build from two main components — water and death.
His endings are a strange version of a tragic happily ever after.
Maybe next time he can create a romance that takes place in the desert where no one dies. At least it would be something different.
The film has two bright spots. The child, Riley Thomas Stewart, who is famous for his Toyota Highlander commercial campaign, and Zeus, played by Rowdy, a 6-year-old German Shepherd.
Their performances outshine the rest of the cast.
Dogs play a central role in the film because the main character owns a kennel.
While predictably Sparks, the story is sweet but the main actors aren’t moving enough to pull it off.
Efron isn’t exactly convincing as a Marine, but he somewhat pulls off the sweet protective drifter aspects of his character. His acting skills lack the depth needed for this type of role.
His love interest, played by Taylor Schilling (TV’s “Mercy”) looks unnatural on screen. There are scenes that are supposed to be deeply moving as she becomes overwhelmed in grief. Schilling’s performance does not convey these emotions and her acting appears forced.
The secret to acting is to make it look like you are not acting. It’s a secret that needs to be shared with Schilling. Her performance almost kills the film.
Blythe Danner (“Little Fockers”) plays Schilling’s grandmother who encourages the relationship with Logan.
Parents of preteen girls who want to see the film because of Efron’s teen idol status might want to know there are several sexy scenes.
If the movie featured actors with better chops this could have been a nice, although predictable, love story. Instead I was left with melodramatic mush.
Watch the movie for the dogs but know you could be frustrated with the humans.
Becca Owsley can be reached at (270) 505-1741. For movie reviews visit her reporter page on Facebook at www.facebook.com/pages/Becca-Owsley/96924584861.